Adaptations for egg eating in the snake Elaphe climacophora (Boie). American Museum novitates ; no. 1571

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New York : American Museum of Natural History
"This paper describes the habits and vertebral modifications for egg crushing of a species of Elaphe specialized for the eating of eggs. It is pointed out that considerable variation exists among the three specimens examined, and thus a final decision as to the cause and significance of this variation is precluded at the present time by lack of material, but a number of hypotheses are offered to explain the evolutionary significance of the vertebral modification. There are possible taxonomic implications in view of the development of similar specialization among related forms and their bearing on the status of the snakes (Dasypeltinae), now placed in a separate subfamily largely because of similar but more extreme adaptive specialization. It may be of interest to note here that preliminary investigations of the senior author show that similar specialization exists in Elaphe carinata, E. dione, and E. schrencki anomala, among Chinese species of Elaphe examined thus far. In E. carinata modification of the hypapophyses has progressed to the point of penetration of the esophagus"--P. 14-15.
16 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 15-16).