Morphometry and Aspects of Breeding Biology of Trachischium guentheri Boulenger, 1890 (Serpentes: Colubridae) in North Sikkim, Eastern Himalaya, India

Basundhara Chettri, S. Bhupathy, Bhoj Kumar Acharya

Abstract


Aspects of life history and morphometry of Günther’s oriental slender snake Trachischium guentheri (Boulenger, 1890) was studied along the Lachen and Lachung valleys of North Sikkim, Eastern Himalaya, India during 2003 – 2005. A total of 360 snakes were observed in 1026 man-hours of time constrained visual encounter surveys. Females were significantly larger (t = 3.19, df = 144, P < 0.01) and heavier (t = 3.04, df = 144, P < 0.01) than the males. Tail was longer in males compared to females having the same snout vent length (ANCOVA; F = 21.42, P < 0.001). Size structure of this species was unimodal right-skewed favoring adults. Both males and females showed normal distribution with respect to size classes (Z = 0.548, P > 0.05; Z = 0.813, P > 0.05) respectively. Encounter rate was highest during June – July. At ten locations, 2 – 130 eggs were found in piles under boulders, fallen logs and roots covered with mosses indicating communal egg laying. Clutch size of this species was 1 – 4 and highest number of nests and eggs were observed during August.

Keywords


Trachischium guentheri; size structure; morphometry; communal egg laying; Sikkim; Eastern Himalaya; India

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