Gomesophis brasiliensis (Gomes, 1918)

enezes, Frederico de Alcantara, Abegg, Arthur Diesel, Silva, Bruno Rocha da, ranco, Francisco Luis & Feio, Renato Neves, 2018, Composition and natural history of the snakes from the Parque Estadual da Serra do Papagaio, southern Minas Gerais, Serra da Mantiqueira, Brazil, ZooKeys 797, pp. 117-160: 117

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Gomesophis brasiliensis (Gomes, 1918)


Gomesophis brasiliensis (Gomes, 1918)  Figure 4C

Natural history notes.

Species of small size (n = 8). This species is considered nocturnal and aquatic, associating with lentic watercourses ( Gomes 1918, Marques et al. 2001, Gonzalez et al. 2014). During our fieldwork, it was found during all months of sampling in similar numbers and all observations occurred during the day in open areas. Five individuals were found active: four were moving from a river edge towards a swamp (10:00 h, 16:00 h, 17:00 h, 17:30 h) and one towards a creek (14:00 h). Three individuals were found at rest; one on a creek edge (9:00 h.), one in a muddy area (15:00 h) and another in a swamp (16:00 h). Fortes et al. (2010) recorded two active individuals at 21:00 h swimming on the surface of an 80-cm-deep turbid water lagoon. A male (SVL = 420 mm; TL = 75 mm) was kept in a 70cm × 30cm × 45cm terrarium for 10 consecutive days. During this period, it was monitored by camera 24 hours/day, to study its activity. It presented a unimodal activity pattern, with 96.4% of activity records during the day and peak activity from 9:30 to 17:00 h. Data obtained in the laboratory and field observations indicate this species is predominantly diurnal and semi-aquatic. G. brasiliensis  frequently uses the ground (instead of the water), mainly during the day, to move between lentic and lotic environments. Of the three specimens examined, one had an earthworm in its stomach. Our results are consistent with the study by Oliveira et al. (2003) who also found traces of earthworm in the digestive tract of G. brasiliensis  . Earthworms are sensitive to light and ultraviolet radiation ( Edwards and Lofty 1977), so they are predominantly nocturnal, coming to the surface at night or during periods of very low light intensity during the day ( Lee 1985). The diurnal activity of G. brasiliensis  does not match its prey activity period. G. brasiliensis  may hunt and capture its prey underground, during the day, possibly on the borders of marshes where the concentration of earthworms is higher (Frederico Menezes, pers. obs.). No information about reproduction of the examined specimens was recorded, except for a pregnant female in February. The species has seasonal reproduction associated with the rainy season, with juvenile recruitment between February and March ( Oliveira et al. 2003). The defensive repertoire is described in Menezes et al. (2017).

Altitudinal variation.

Found at a minimum of 430 m a.s.l. in Encruzilhada do Sul, RS and maximum of 1650 m a.s.l. in the Parque Estadual da Serra do Papagaio, Alagoa, MG. The maximum altitudinal record derives from the same are in this study, where most individuals were recorded at 1750 m altitude, in the PESP, Baependi, MG. The toponyms obtained for this species occur in two altitudinal ranges: 51% are located between 430 and 800 meters and 49% above this range ( Bérnils 2009).

Distribution and habitat.

This species occurs in natural field areas ( Amaral 1977, Ghizoni-Jr et al. 2009) in southern and southeastern Brazil (Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo) (Gonzalez et al. 2014).