Do you know what “autohaemorrhaging” means? It is a deliberate release or ejection of blood (also termed reflex bleeding), reported from some lizards and snakes as well as some insects. It is often interpreted as defensive behavior against predator attacks. But whether reflex bleeding as a defense really works, and whether predators are then either visually or chemically deterred from their prey is currently unknown. Mark-Oliver Rödel and colleagues now reported several new cases of autohaemorrhaging in the open access journal Herpetology Notes, including two species from our study area in Canandé (Leptodeira ornata and Trachyboa boulengeri). The adaptive value of this behavior still remains unclear, and the authors suggest that this “could be simply an impressive stress reaction”. One of the facinating mysteries in tropical rainforests.
Rödel M-O, Loaiza-Lange A, Penner J, Neira-Salamea KD, Salazar-Valenzuela D (2023) A mouth full of blood – autohaemorrhaging in three Ecuadorian snakes (Squamata: Colubridae & Tropidophiidae). Herpetology Notes 16: 25-30 (link)