Cookies Policy
Cookie 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

Variation in the diet of the Lataste's viper Vipera latastei in the Iberian Peninsula: seasonal, sexual and size-related effects

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.
MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Buy this article

$30.00+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites

For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Several life-history traits may increase vulnerability of species to extinction. Among snakes, ambush predation and dietary specialisation are factors that increase this vulnerability. European viper species, genus Vipera, display such traits and are categorised as endangered in several parts of its range. For their conservation management, a deeper knowledge of their ecology and habitat use is highly relevant. One of the species with less ecological data is the Lataste's viper Vipera latastei, a species which lives in the Iberian Peninsula and northwestern Africa. Here, we describe its diet based on the analysis of gut content of 435 museum specimens plus nine bibliographic data from the entire Iberian range. The species showed seasonal and ontogenetic shift in diet but no sexual variations. Feeding activity (percentage of vipers with prey) was low in accordance with its ambush predation tactics, being lower in spring than in summer and autumn. Prey spectrum included two main (reptiles and small mammals), and three sporadic, types of prey (arthropods, amphibians and birds). The consumption of reptiles and mammals was seasonal; the former decreased in occurrence from spring to autumn, whereas the latter showed an opposite pattern. There was an ontogenetic shift in the diet: juveniles fed mainly on reptiles and arthropods, whereas adult vipers progressively substitute this prey with insectivores, and the largest vipers primarily foraged on rodents and birds. Our results suggest that the seasonal variation in prey type was related to prey availability, whereas the ontogenetic shift was linked to gape limitation. The apparently wide prey spectrum of V. latastei must therefore be examined, taking into account that there are seasonal and ontogenetic dietary variations as well as geographic differences, the latter probably driven by climatic contrasts into the Iberian Peninsula. This new data of the endangered Iberian V. latastei can aid the effective conservation management of this species.


Article metrics loading...


Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Granada, E-18071 Granada, Spain; Departament de Biologia Animal (Vertebrats), Universitat de Barcelona, Avinguda Diagonal 645, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain; 2: Departament de Biologia Animal (Vertebrats), Universitat de Barcelona, Avinguda Diagonal 645, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain; 3: Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Granada, E-18071 Granada, Spain; 4: CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias de Vairão, R. Padre Armando Quintas, 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal; 5: Département de Biologie, Faculté de Sciences, Université Abdelmalek Essaâdi, Tétouan, Morocco; 6: Servei Proteccio Fauna, Dep. Medi Ambient, Generalitat Catalunya, E-08017 Barcelona, Spain


Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to email alerts
  • 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:
    Animal Biology — Recommend this title to your library

    Thank you

    Your recommendation has been sent to your librarian.

  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation