Predation of a Gymnophthalmid Lizard by an Andean Motmot (Momotus aequatorialis) in the Canyon of Combeima, Central Andes of Colombia.

The canyon of Combeima is located in the Central Andes in Colombia, in corregimiento of Juntas, municipality of Ibagué (Tolima). This life zone is approximately at 1700 masl (pre-montane forest). The Canyon is known for its biological diversity in birds, anole lizards and some snakes.

In this canyon, the abundance of Andean Motmot (Momotus aequatorialis) is high allowing them to be readily observed. The Andean Motmot, M. aequatorialis was separated as a distinct species from the rest of the complex Momotus momota according to (Stiles 2009). The distribution of M. aequatorialis is reported in mountain regions of the Andes between 1500 and 3200 masl (Hilty and Brown 1986, Stiles 2009).

Andean motmots feed mainly arthropods and fruits (Remsen et al. 1993), and it has been documented that they may also feed of various vertebrates such as frogs (Master 1999), snakes (Stiles & Skutch 1989), hummingbirds (García-C & Zahawi 2006) and mammals such as mice, bats, shrews (Delgado-V. & Brooks 2003, Chacón-Madrigal & Barrantes 2004, Greeney et al. 2006, Sandoval et al . 2008) as well as marsupials of the genus Micoureus (Acevedo-Q 2012).

Here I report predation by M. aequatorialis on a lizard of the family Gymnophthalmidae. The bird was holding the lizard in its beak, lacking a part of its tail (Fig. 1). The observation was conducted for the period in which the bird remained perched on the tree.

IMG_0530

Figure 1. Andean motmot (M. aequatorialis) capturing a Gymnophthalmidae Lizard

I also observed that the M. aequatorialis had an ectoparasite on the blue stain (Fig 2), another example of the various interactions that can be found in this ecosystem.

Motmot_Ecto

 Figure 2. M. aequatorialis with an ectoparasite (Red circle)

About Jason Tolosa

Biologist, interested in population genetics and phylogeography. Currently working in a birds monitoring project in altitudinal gradient in Cordillera Central de los Andes-Colombia, also interested in aspects of biology in amphibians and reptiles.

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