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Abundant prey or optimal microhabitat? Natrix tessellata stays hidden in safe areas in a diverse floodplain along the Danube at Göd, Hungary

Gaebele, Tibor and Potyó, Imre and Weiperth, András and Guti, Gábor and Puky, Miklós (2013) Abundant prey or optimal microhabitat? Natrix tessellata stays hidden in safe areas in a diverse floodplain along the Danube at Göd, Hungary. NORTH-WESTERN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 9 (2). pp. 374-382. ISSN 1843-5629

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Abstract

Natrix tessellata (Laurenti, 1768) is a diurnal piscivorous Eurasian snake species with a large distribution area. Along the River Danube it is present in the floodplain and along the lower stretch of tributaries. The distribution of N. tessellata among the different microhabitats along the River Danube at Göd (1669-1671 rkm) and its relationship with environmental parameters and fish presence/absence, species composition, size distribution and abundance was studied at eight selected sections. Samples were collected twice a month from March to October in 2008-2009; N. tessellata was found between May and early October. Altogether 26 N. tessellata sightings were recorded together with 497 individuals of 21 fish species along the same sections, while another 5,547 individuals belonging to 28 fish species were caught in snake-free areas. Microhabitat characteristics were more important than the presence of fish in determining along which section N. tessellata stays. It favoured slow-flowing sections with aquatic macrophytes and a sandy or muddy bottom. In spite of their suitability, artificial habitats were not much used maybe due to increased risk of disturbance and predation/persecution. The habitat preference of N. tessellata changed less between the two studied years with different water level fluctuations than those of fishes and it was not identical with that of any of the fish species caught. However, fish 15-30 mm and longer may influence the distribution of N. tessellata.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Natrix tessellata, Reptilia, juvenile fish, environmental parameters, habitat preferences, Middle-Danube
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
Depositing User: Rózsa Kiss
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2014 14:58
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2014 14:58
URI: http://real.mtak.hu/id/eprint/8488

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