Contributions to Zoology, 69 (3) (2000)Luca Luiselli; Francesco M. Angelici; Godfrey C. Akani: Large elapids and arboreality: the ecology of Jameson’s green mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni) in an Afrotropical forested region

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Habitat and ecological distribution

Dendroaspis jamesoni is no doubt a common and widespread snake in southeastern Nigeria: it was found in 26 of 52 sites surveyed in the eastern axis of the Niger Delta (including sites along the courses of the rivers Imo, Bonny, New Calabar, Sambreiro, and Orashi), in several sites in the Delta, Edo, Abia and Imo States (surroundings of Aba, Okpala-Ngwa, and Owerri), in Eket, Uyo, Ikot-Ekpene, and in several sites along the Kwa-Ibo River (Akwa-Ibom State, cf. Luiselli et al., 1998c), and in Calabar, Itu, Akampka, Oban, Ekang, Ikom, and Basua (Cross River State, cf. Butler and Reid, 1986, 1990; Schmitt, 1996; Luiselli et al., unpubl. data).


Slide 2. Rainforest in the surroundings of Buguma (Rivers State), a place where green mamba‘s are very common.

We obtained 83 records of D. jamesoni for which the precise habitat at the point of capture has been recorded. Snakes were found in secondary dry forest (n = 22, 26.5% of the total sample observed), primary dry forest (n = 10, 12%), primary swamp forest (n = 19, 22.9%), mangrove formations (n = 2, 2.4%), bushy spots in the forest-plantation mosaic (n = 3, 3.6%), farms and plantations (n = 23, 27.7%), and suburban areas (n = 4, 4.8%). As for the preserved specimens observed in high school and hospital collections (n = 11), it was impossible to establish the habitat of capture. However, based on interviews with school personnel, it is likely that these specimens came from highly disturbed areas around towns (suburbia and plantations). An adult roadkilled male was found in a business part of Port Harcourt city (“Mile two Diobu”), where only a few bushes and trees surrounding a wide grassy field were available to snakes.

The logistic regression model (-2 log likelihood = 72.087; for variables not in equation: residual χ2 = 3.5, df = 8, P = 0.89) showed that the presence of D. jamesoni was not correlated significantly with any macro-environmental parameters (P > 0.15 in all cases).