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Actualidades Biológicas

Print version ISSN 0304-3584


PEIXOTO-COUTO, Rodney Murillo; CABRERA-MIGUEL, Maiara  and  ORTEGA, Zaida. First record of predation on Rhinella diptycha (Anura, Bufonidae) by Caiman latirostris (Crocodylia, Alligatoridae). Actu Biol [online]. 2020, vol.42, n.112, e4. ISSN 0304-3584.

Caimans of the species Caiman latirostris, which are widely distributed in South America, are opportunistic predators. They show ontogenetic variation in diet, with young individuals initially feeding on invertebrates and then gradually adding vertebrates in their diets as they grow up. However, due to inexperience, young individuals may end up eating dangerous prey, such as poisonous amphibians. The intoxication caused by eating an individual of Rhinella diptycha may produce local irritation to the caiman, and even lead it to death shortly after ingestion. To avoid this threat, some animals use particular feeding strategies, such as starting to eat the prey’s posterior part, or eating only its viscera. In this note, we report the first case of a predation event of an adult individual of the poisonous toad R. diptycha by a young individual of C. latirostris that we observed in a pond of the Southeast of Brazil. The caiman waited until the toad was dead before starting swallowing slowly, from the anterior part of the body. We did not observe any sign that the caiman was affected by the prey ingestion, even some hours later after ingestion. Our register suggests that the caiman may be tolerant or adapted to eat this poisonous prey and encourage research on the causes and mechanisms of this tolerance.

Keywords : Caiman; ecological interaction; poison; predation; toad.

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