Preliminary insights into the habitat preferences of the centralian bandy bandy (Vermicella vermiformis) (Squamata: Elapidae) in Central Australia

Peter McDonald, Gary W. Luck

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Abstract

Bandy Bandy's (Vermicella spp.) are a striking, black-and-white ringed genus of small elapid snakes endemic to Australia. All taxa are burrowers and little is known of their biology and ecology. We investigated the habitat preferences of the only arid-dwelling species, the centralian bandy bandy (Vermicella vermiformis), in the MacDonnell Ranges west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Using systematic road-cruising, we encountered 16 V. vermiformis over a 12 months period between 2009 and 2010. We used logistic regression to model the occurrence of the species against a range of different habitat variables collected at multiple scales. Despite the small sample size, V vermiformis exhibited a clear preference for acacia shrubland habitats, with acacia variables present in all AICc ranked models in the 95% confidence set. The factors driving this association, together with the preference for habitat not burnt in the most recent wildfires, may be related to the abundance of their only known prey, blind snakes (Ramphotyphlops spp.).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalAsian Herpetological Research
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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