Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to Peninsular Southeast Asia occurring in Thailand, and southern Viet Nam (Murphy 2007).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Continent: Asia
Distribution: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam  
Type locality: unknown (fide MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Peter Uetz

Source: The Reptile Database

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits stagnant or slow moving bodies of water with emergent-submergent vegetation. This species feeds exclusively on fish (Murphy 2007).

Life history information is from captive bred animals. During the dry season it will, if necessary, bury itself under the mud until the rainy season returns.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 13.6 years (captivity)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
Murphy, J., Brooks, S.E. & Bain, R.H.

Reviewer/s
Livingstone, S.R., Elfes, C.T., Polidoro, B.A. & Carpenter, K.E. (Global Marine Species Assessment Coordinating Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is considered common within its range. Although harvested, it makes up a small proportion of the harvest and this is unlikely to have a significant impact on the global population. This species is therefore listed as Least Concern.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
This species is considered quite common within its range (J. Murphy pers. comm. 2009). There have not been any specific abundance studies on this species.

Population Trend
Unknown
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
This species is exploited in Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia, and snake populations are declining in this particular area. However, they make up a small proportion of the overall snake harvest (2-3%) (Brooks et al. 2007).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
In Cambodia, there is non commercial "minimal captive breeding" of this species (S. Brooks pers. comm.), but there are no known species-specific conservation measures in place. In places, its distribution coincides with protected areas, probably providing small safeguards. Monitoring of the population around the Tonlé Sap Lake should be carried out to check the levels of by-catch are not causing serious declines in this species.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Erpeton tentaculatum

The tentacled snake (Erpeton tentaculatum), is a rear-fanged aquatic snake native to South-East Asia. It is the only species of its genus, Erpeton, and the two tentacles on its snout are a unique feature among snakes. The method it uses to catch fish has recently been a subject of research.

Description[edit]

HerpetonTentaculatumFord.jpg

The tentacled snake is a relatively small snake, averaging about 50 to 90 cm (20-35 inches) in length.[2][3] They are known to come in two color phases, striped or blotched, with both phases ranging from dark gray or brown to a light tan. It lives its entire life in murky water.

The tentacled snake is the only species of snake to possess twin "tentacles" on the front of its head, which have been shown to have mechanosensory function.[4] Its diet consists solely of fish, although a manuscript from the 1870s suggests that they eat plant matter, probably due to an accidental ingestion.[citation needed]

Although it does have venomous fangs, the tentacled snake is not considered dangerous to humans. The fangs are small, only partially grooved, and positioned deep in the rear of the mouth.[5] The venom is specific to the fish that the tentacled snake eats.[3]

Distribution[edit]

A native of South-East Asia, the tentacled snake can be found in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The snake lives its entire life in the murky water of lakes, rice paddies, and slow moving streams, and can be found in fresh, brackish, and sea water. A prime example of its habitat is the Tonlé Sap lake in central Cambodia. The water there contains much silt and has a large fish population.

Tonlé Sap lake, Cambodia

Behavior[edit]

Tentacled snakes spend their whole life in the water and can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes without coming up for air.[3] They can move only awkwardly on land. In dry times and at night, the snake may burrow itself in the mud.[2]

The young develop ovoviviparously and are born live underwater.[2]

Hunting is accomplished via a unique ambush method. Tentacled snakes spend much of their time in a rigid posture.[2] The tail is used to anchor the animal underwater while its body assumes a distinctive upside-down "J" shape. The striking range is a narrow area downwards from its head, somewhat towards its body. Once a fish swims within that area the snake will strike by pulling itself down in one quick motion towards the prey.

Through the use of high-speed cameras and hydrophones, the snake's method of ambush is revealed in greater detail. The snake anticipates the movements of the fish as it attempts to escape. As the fish swims into range, the snake creates a disturbance in the water by moving part of its body posterior to the neck. This disturbance triggers an escape reflex in the fish called the C-start, in which the fish contorts its body into a "C" shape. Normally at this point the fish would swim quickly away from the disturbance by quickly straightening its body, but the snake grabs it, usually by the head, anticipating its movement. The snake catches fish by tricking them into reflexively attempting to escape in the wrong direction.[6] Unlike most predators, the snake doesn’t aim for the fish’s initial position and then adjust its direction as the fish moves, it heads directly for the location where it expects the fish’s head to be.[7][8] The ability to predict the position of its prey appears to be innate.[9]

The tentacled snake retracts its eyes when it begins to strike.[6]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ EOL.org
  2. ^ a b c d http://www.siam-info.de/english/snakes_homalopsinae.html#Erpeton%20tentaculum
  3. ^ a b c http://www.torontozoo.com/Animals/details.asp?AnimalId=580
  4. ^ K. C. Catania, D. B. Leitch and D. Gauthier. Function of the appendages in tentacled snakes (Erpeton tentaculatus). Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 359-367 (2010). http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/short/213/3/359?rss=1
  5. ^ Fry, B.G., et al. Evolution of an arsenal: structural and functional diversification of the venom system in the advanced snakes (Caenophidia). Mol Cell Proteomics, Retrieved on July 14, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "The tentacled snake turns a fish's defence into a death march". Not Exactly Rocket Science: Science for Everyone. ScienceBlogs. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  7. ^ Discovery of a Water Snake That Predicts the Direction Its Prey Will Flee Newswise, Retrieved on June 24, 2009.
  8. ^ http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2009/06/video-tentacled-snake-in-action-82827/ Video of a Tentacled Snake in Action, Retrieved on December 16, 2010.
  9. ^ Kenneth C. Catania (2010). "Born Knowing: Tentacled Snakes Innately Predict Future Prey Behavior". PLoS ONE 5 (6): e10953. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010953. PMC 2886828. PMID 20585384. Retrieved 20 June 2010. 

References[edit]

  • Catania, Kenneth C (2011). "Natural-Born Killer: Lethal from day one, the tentacled snake uses surprisingly sly tactics to capture fish." Scientific American. April 2011, pp. 65-67.
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!