Project Details: This project will conduct the first ecological study on this top predator and provide the first estimates of population densities of this under-studied montane viper. Habitat and diet preferences will also be investigated in both juvenile and adult Bothriechis marchi in what is a delicate cloud forest ecosystem where populations of potential amphibian prey including CR park endemic species are known to be affected by the chytrid fungus.
Results and Preliminary Findings: The original aim was to obtain data from ten snakes. We were able to sample from 30 different snakes in a four week period of fieldwork with an even split of juveniles and adults sampled from. We were also able to obtain genetics samples from five different localities in Cusuco National Park, resulting in good data to investigate gene flow and the level of connectivity within the population. There was a habitat trend that emerged in that juvenile vipers were found next to streams and adults were found away from streams in open forested areas and on ridges. Prey differences can also be inferred from these findings. We obtained two diet samples from two juvenile Bothriechis marchi that had recently fed. One of these snakes had eaten an adult Spikethumb frog (Plectrohyla dasypus), an IUCN CR listed frog endemic to Cusuco National Park. The second snake had eaten a Mountain brook frog (Duellmanohyla soralia), another IUCN CR listed frog found in the mountainous areas of NW Honduras and NE Guatemala. These frog species are potentially the main food source for juvenile Bothriechis marchi in Cusuco National Park.
Project 12053519 location - Honduras, North America