Palau bevelnosed boa (Candoia superciliosa)

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Palau bevelnosed boa resting in a tree
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Palau bevelnosed boa fact file

Palau bevelnosed boa description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyBoidae
GenusCandoia (1)

The Palau bevelnosed boa (Candoia superciliosa) is a slender snake, with a long prehensile tail (4) anda broad, flat snout (2). Individuals vary greatly in colour, from lemon yellow to charcoal to bright brick red, and may be patterned with either dull or brightly contrasting stripes, spots or zigzags (2). However, all Palaubevelnosed boas have a distinguishing white spot situated behind the anus, and characteristic enlarged scales above the eye sockets (2). Two subspecies are recognised: Candoia superciliosa superciliosa (northern Belau bevelnosed boa) and Candoia superciliosa crombiei (Ngeaur bevelnosed boa) (2).

Until recently the Palau bevelnosed boawas considered a subspecies of Candoia carinata,which is found throughout most of the Solomon Islands Archipelago (5). It has now been given full species status (2), but due to a lack of specific data, much of the available information refers to Candoia carinata.

Also known as
Palau bevel-nosed boa.
Size
Length: up to 88.5 cm (2)
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Palau bevelnosed boa biology

Although mostly arboreal, this snake is also frequently found on the ground, and is active during both the day and night (2). It is highly prehensile, and will persistently grip any support within reach, with its tail or with its body. Its diet consists mainly of frogs and geckos, and occasionally skinks (2).

Unlike the majority of reptiles, the Palau bevelnosed boa gives birth to live young. Each litter contains an average of 12 young, but may contain as many as 50; litter size increases proportionally to the size of the female. Each female reproduces, on average, less frequently than once a year (5).

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Palau bevelnosed boa range

The Palau bevelnosed boa is found on the islands of the Palau (or Belua) Archipelago (2) (6). The subspecies C. s. crombiei (Ngeaur bevelnosed boa) is limited to the island of Ngeaur (2).

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Palau bevelnosed boa habitat

The Palau bevelnosed boa is commonly found in rainforest, although its abundance in backyard banana and taro (a root vegetable) patches in towns, and on almost completely deforested islands, shows it also adapts well to disturbed habitats (2).

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Palau bevelnosed boa status

The Palau bevelnosed boa is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and is listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Palau bevelnosed boa threats

The Palau bevelnosed boa is a common and relatively adaptable species, and is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction. However, this snake is sometimes killed by humans and is occasionally traded (1).

Despite its ability to adapt to disturbed habitats, it is still likely that the Palau bevelnosed boa, like all the terrestrial biodiversity of Palau, is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, caused by increased development, such as the construction of roads. Invasive species, uncontrolled fires and hunting also pose a threat to the fauna and flora of the archipelago (7).

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Palau bevelnosed boa conservation

There are currently no specific attempts to conserve the Palau bevelnosed boa. However, it is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that international trade in this species should be carefully monitored (3).

There are efforts underway to conserve the general biodiversity and efficiently manage the natural resources of the islands (7). The Palau National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan outlines actions that will help conserve the islands’ biodiversity, including establishing a network of protected areas and protecting the islands from the negative impacts of invasive species (7).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

To learn more about conservation in Palau see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Arboreal
An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
Prehensile
Capable of grasping.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Smith, H.M., Chiszar, D., Tepedelen, K. and Van Breukelen, F. (2001) A revision of the bevelnosed boas (Candoia carinata complex) (Reptilia: Serpentes). Hamadryad, 26: 283-315.
  3. CITES (September, 2010)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. O’Shea, M. (2007) Boas and Pythons of the World. New Holland Publishers, London.
  5. Harlow, P. and Shine, R. (1992) Food habits and reproductive biology of the Pacific Island boas (Candoia). Journal of Herpetology, 26(1): 60-66.           
  6. Austin, C. (2000) Molecular phylogeny and historical biogeography of PacificIslandboas (Candoia). Copeia, 2: 341-352.
  7. Palau National Environmental Protection Council (2005) National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Republic of Palau. Available at:
    http://www.cbd.int/countries/?country=pw
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Image credit

Palau bevelnosed boa resting in a tree  
Palau bevelnosed boa resting in a tree

© Tim Laman / naturepl.com

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