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Risk of predation in male and female adders, Vipera berus (Linné)

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In a pilot test with live adders, Vipera berus, more males than females were attacked by visually guided predators after, but not before, the synchronized spring sloughing in males. In three 24 h experiments and one five days experiment the same proportion of male and female adder models in basking position was attacked by predators. I spring more males than females were exposed to predators, but in the summer the opposite was true. However, in the whole season females were exposed to predation a longer period than males. As sex ratio remains constant, male activity in spring, with high mobility and fighting, may be more risky than the extensive basking in pregnant females during summer.

Affiliations: 1: University of Göteborg, Department of Zoology, Box 250 59, S-400 31 Göteborg, Sweden


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