Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Old habits die hard: Mouse handling by a pitviper species on a rodent-free island

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The golden lancehead (Bothrops insularis) is endemic to Queimada Grande Island off the coast of southeastern Brazil. This pitviper feeds mainly on migratory birds, whereas mainland pitvipers in the genus Bothrops usually feed on rodents. Rodents are regarded as a dangerous prey type, and the habitual handling of rodents by pitvipers include its immediate release after the initial bite. However, bird prey is usually held within jaws after the initial bite. Presently there are no rodents in Queimada Grande Island, which is thought to have isolated from the mainland 11 000 yr ago. We staged encounters between B. insularis and house mice in the field to evaluate how the snake will behave when introduced to a supposedly unknown prey type. Mice were readily accepted as prey and the predatory behaviour of B. insularis was similar to that displayed by mainland pitvipers (strike-release). Although B. insularis has several morphological and ecological particularities that likely developed during its isolation on an island (some of these related to a specialized diet and/or arboreal habits), the handling behaviour of potentially dangerous prey such as rodents was retained – an indication of phylogenetic conservatism.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratório de Ecologia e Evolução, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brazil, 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil;, Email:; 2: Museu de Zoologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Amphibia-Reptilia — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation