Technical Group on Public Health Vigilance for the States of Rio Grande do Sul

Goiás, Brazil

Technical Group on Public Health Vigilance for the States of Rio Grande do Sul

Goiás, Brazil

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Teixeira D.S.,University of Brasilia | dos Santos E.,Technical Group on Public Health Vigilance for the States of Rio Grande do Sul | Leal S.G.,Technical Group on Public Health Vigilance for the States of Rio Grande do Sul | de Jesus A.K.,Technical Group on Public Health Vigilance for the States of Rio Grande do Sul | And 3 more authors.
Primates | Year: 2016

Here we report the first witnessed attack on a marmoset by a constrictor snake. The incident occurred mid-morning in a gallery forest within an altered landscape of the Cerrado region of central Brazil and refers to a fatal attack by a Boa constrictor on two juvenile black-tufted-ear marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) simultaneously. The snake captured both individuals at a height of ~4 m while a group of eight marmosets traveled through the subcanopy. The actual strike was not seen. After 2 min, the boa fell to the ground with both marmosets in its coils and proceeded to kill one animal at a time through constriction. Two adult marmosets immediately descended to where the snake held its victims on the ground and attacked it. The snake showed no apparent reaction, and after ~1–2 min, the adults rejoined the remaining group members that were mobbing and vocalizing from 5 to 6 m above. The group left the scene ~7 min after the onset of the attack and was not seen again. The snake loosened its coils 10 min after its initial strike, left the two carcasses on the ground and stayed behind a nearby tree. Thus, we are not sure if the victims were in fact ingested. This report confirms that marmosets are vulnerable to boid snakes and capable of highly organized and cooperative antipredation behavior. It also suggests that snakes pose a greater threat to callitrichids than previously thought. © 2015, Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan.

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