Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[Herpetology • 2010] Death Feigning Behavior in three colubrid species of tropical Asia ; Coleognathus radiatus, Macrocalamus chanardi & Xenochrophis piscator

Death feigning by Macrocalamus chanardi, Cameron Highlands, West-Malaysia, photograph by Allan Teo.

Death feigning was reported for the first time for the species Coleognathus radiatus and Macrocalamus chanardi. In Xenochrophis piscator this behavior is reported for the second time since 1947. These are the first reports on death feigning in snakes for the Indochinese and Malayan subregions. 

Keywords: death feigning, Coelognathus radiatus, Macrocalamus chanardi, Xenochrophis piscator, Oriental region.

Death feigning by Coelognathus radiatus, Tak Province Thailand.

Death feigning by Natrix natrix. Photograph by Petr Vlèek.

 Death feigning is a phenomenon in snakes that seems to be widely neglected in documentation. It is not really known which species show this behavior, and in which way. Nor have the different kind of death feigning “stages” been compared among species. It is our opinion, that there must surely be many more snake species that demonstrate death feigning behavior than what is presently known, and we encourage researchers to report such observations.

Vogel, G. and Han-Yuem, H.K. 2010. Death feigning behavior in three colubrid species of tropical Asia. Russian Journal of Herpetology. 17 (1): 15–21.