Ecological diversity of a snake assemblage from the Atlantic Forest at the south coast of Paraíba, NE Brazil
Despite an increase in studies focusing on snake ecology and composition in the northeastern Atlantic Forest, several poorly studied sites and environments remain. The aim of this study was to assess species richness and natural history attributes of the snakes of an assemblage in the Restinga, Tabuleiro and Forest environments of the Atlantic Forest of the south coast of Paraíba, northeastern Brazil. A total of 151 individuals of 27 species, 23 genera, and six families of snakes were found. The most effective sampling methods were time-constrained searches and incidental encounters. Species sampled most frequently were the blindsnake Epictia borapeliotes, the Boa Constrictor Boa constrictor, the Brown Vinesnake Oxybelis aeneus, and the Brazilian False Coral Snake Oxyrhopus trigeminus. The snake fauna is characterized mainly by terrestrial species found in open-area environments of Restinga and Tabuleiro, and with most species feeding on amphibians and small mammals. The rarefaction curve did not reach the asymptote and new species should be recorded for south coast of Paraíba in future studies. Despite the richness and composition of snakes of the south coast being similar to other areas in the state, there is a lack of some species typically linked to forests, and this is probably because of the high level of deforestation that the south area of the state has suffered.