- Average elevation
- 0 m
- 0.00 ft
cormorants. On average, is between 850 and 900 mm in length. It possesses a long, straight bill, long neck, long tail (202 to 240 mm long), and webbed feet. The wings of are generally 331 to 357 mm in length. Typically, adult males are slightly larger than females. Oriental darters' feathers are semi-permeable to water, which aids in swimming. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; Baker, 1929; Blanford, 1898; Pennant, 1790; Sharpe and Ogilvie Grant, 1898; Whistler, 1949; WoRMS, 2011)is a long necked bird, similar in size and shape to
The crown and rear neck of juveniles is a more pale brown. The underside of their neck is white, but the white lines on the lateral sides of their neck are absent. Darters' white wing feathers are a more yellow-white in juveniles. (Blanford, 1898; Sharpe and Ogilvie Grant, 1898)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- Range length
- 850 to 920 mm
- 33.46 to 36.22 in
- Average length
- 900 mm
- 35.43 in
- Range wingspan
- 331 to 357 mm
- 13.03 to 14.06 in
- Mating System
After mating, eggs are laid and incubated by both the male and female for 25 to 30 days before hatching. The eggs usually hatch asynchronously. These eggs are oval in shape and covered in a greenish-white coating (which may turn brown due to incubation). Underneath this coating, the egg is a pale greenish blue. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; Baker, 1929; Blanford, 1898; ; Whistler, 1949)
Adolescents leave the nest and live independently at around 50 days of age. Sexual maturity occurs at about 2 years of age. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; )
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- year-round breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- breeds once per breeding season.
- Breeding season
- The breeding season is dependent on region and weather.
- Range eggs per season
- 2 to 6
- Average eggs per season
- Range time to hatching
- 25 to 30 days
- Average time to hatching
- 28 days
- Average fledging age
- 50 minutes
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 2 years
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 2 years
Once hatched, the altricial young are cared for by both parents. For the first several weeks, the young are fed regurgitated food as many as 6 to 9 times per day by the parents. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; )
The average lifespan of ("AnAge entry for Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; )is 9 years in the wild. The oldest known individual died in captivity at the age of 16 years.
- Range lifespan
- 16 (high) years
- Range lifespan
- Average lifespan
- 9 years
- Average lifespan
Oriental darters spend most of their time roosting or swimming. Since their feathers are not completely waterproof, they absorb water and are less buoyant, allowing for faster swimming and diving. Darters swim with their wings extended and paddle with their webbed feet. After swimming, darters sit on branches in the sun and spread their wings to preen and allow them to dry. On, or close to the ground, they are rather ungainly. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; Baker, 1929; Blanford, 1898; ; Whistler, 1949; Zoological Society of London, 1882)
Darters may sit on top of the water, or actively swim. While swimming, only their heads and necks are exposed, with the remainder of their body submerged. They may abruptly dive from on top of the water, or from a tree branch. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; Baker, 1929; Blanford, 1898; ; Whistler, 1949)
In flight, cormorants. They are powerful flyers and can soar for very long distances without flapping their wings. (Keswal, 1886)is very similar to
cormorants and herons. Cormorants and darters also hunt and rest in each other's company. Ordinarily, does not migrate; however, those living in more extreme areas will migrate to other areas. (Birdlife International, 2008; Birdlife International, 2012; Neelakantan, 1976; ; Whistler, 1949)lives in large colonies of up to several hundred individuals. These colonies roost close together in wooded areas, or bamboo groves. The exact size of these areas is unknown, as most evidence is anecdotal. Often times, darters live near and build nests alongside colonies of
Communication and Perception
Oriental darters communicate with one another, primarily via calls. Their distinctive call is a hoarse croak-like "kah-kah-kah", with hissing and clicking. Darters' voices are similar to cormorants' voices, but they are slightly lower. While breeding, mates call out to each other and will communicate via wing flapping displays. When approached, or surprised by humans, they will often crane their necks and flap their wings, possibly as a warning to others in the vicinity. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; Baker, 1929; Blanford, 1898; ; Pennant, 1790; Whistler, 1949)
Darters are most known for their fishing strategies. Oriental darters are no exception and may capture their prey one of several ways. They may dive from their perch, or dive from the surface, to slowly stalk or chase fish. Others wait for fish to rise to the surface, or swim past. At this point, they will attempt to shoot their neck out, to spear the fish. This sudden movement is possible due to the bend in their neck, at the 7th through 9th vertebrae. Once their prey is impaled, darters rise to the surface and throw the fish up in the air, swallowing it headfirst. Darters may also swallow the fish whole while underwater, instead of spearing. Afterwards, darters usually exit the water and dry their wings. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012; Baker, 1929; Blanford, 1898; ; Whistler, 1949; Zoological Society of London, 1882)
insects, aquatic reptiles (turtles, snakes) and amphibians (frogs, newts), shrimp, mollusks, sponges, and various plant grasses and seeds in small quantities. However, the presence of these plant materials in their stomachs may have been accidental. (Dostine and Morton, 1989)usually eats fish, but has been found to eat
- Animal Foods
- aquatic crustaceans
- Plant Foods
- seeds, grains, and nuts
Parental care usually precludes predation of the young. Scientific literature has not detailed the identity of these predators. It is also unknown if adult darters have any natural predators. ("Anhinga melanogaster", 2012)
Schwartzitrema anhinga, Contracaecum rudolphii, Contracaecum carlislei, Contracaecum microcephalum, and Contracaecum tricuspis. Studies found these nematodes present in darters' gastrointestinal tracts; however, they listed the host as and did not differentiate between Oriental darters and African darters subspecies. Although is a piscivore, their impact on fish populations and the environment in general, is unknown. (Barson and Marshall, 2004; Gupta, 1964)is a host to several different parasitic roundworms including
- Schwartzitrema anhingi (class Trematoda; phylum Platyhelminthes)
- Contracaecum rudolphii (class Secernentea; phylum Nematoda)
- Contracaecum carlislei (class Secernentea; phylum Nematoda)
- Contracaecum microcephalum (class Secernentea; phylum Nematoda)
- Contracaecum tricuspis (class Secernentea; phylum Nematoda)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
- Positive Impacts
- body parts are source of valuable material
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
It is unknown if humans.negatively affects
Jason Ning (author), The College of New Jersey, Matthew Wund (editor), The College of New Jersey, Leila Siciliano Martina (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
an area where a freshwater river meets the ocean and tidal influences result in fluctuations in salinity.
- female parental care
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
- male parental care
parental care is carried out by males
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
an animal that mainly eats fish
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
- year-round breeding
breeding takes place throughout the year
2012. "AnAge entry for http://genomics.senescence.info/species/entry.php?species=Anhinga_melanogaster." (On-line). AnAge: The Animal Ageing and Longevity Database. Accessed October 12, 2012 at
Baker, E. 1929. Anhinga melanogaster. The Indian Darter or Snake-bird. Pp. 282-283 in E Baker, ed. The Fauna of British India Including Ceylon and Burma, Vol. 6, 2 Edition. London: Taylor and Francis. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/BakerFbiBirds6/BakerFBI6#page/n322/mode/1up.
Barson, M., B. Marshall. 2004. First record of Contracaecum spp. (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in fish-eating birds from Zimbabwe. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, 75 (2): 74-78. Accessed November 12, 2012 at http://jsava.co.za/index.php/jsava/article/viewFile/456/440.
Birdlife International, 2012. "http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003662/0." (On-line). IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. Accessed October 12, 2012 at
Birdlife International, 2008. "Oriental Darter http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3662." (On-line). Birdlife International. Accessed October 12, 2012 at
Blanford, W. 1898. Plotus melanogaster. The Indian Darter or Snake-bird. Pp. 344-345 in W Blanford, ed. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma, Vol. 4, 1 Edition. London: Taylor and Francis. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/birdsindia04oaterich#page/344/mode/1up.
Dostine, P., S. Morton. 1989. Food of the Darter Emu, 89: 53-54. Accessed October 12, 2012 at http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=MU9890053.pdf.in the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory.
Gupta, R. 1964. Schwartzitrema anhingi sp. nov. from the Indian Darter, Pennant, with a remark on the taxonomic position of the genus Schwartzitrema (Vigueras, 1940) Vigueras, 1941 (Trematoda: Strigeidae). Revista de Biología Tropical, 12 (1): 75-79. Accessed November 12, 2012 at http://www.biologiatropical.ucr.ac.cr/attachments/volumes/vol12-1/09-Gupta-Schwartzitrema.pdf.
Keswal, 1886. Notes on the Waters of Western India. The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 1: 97-123. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/journalofbombayn01bomb#page/96/mode/2up.
Neelakantan, K. 1976. Where Do Darters Sleep?. Newsletter for Birdwatchers, Vol 16. No. 6: 9. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/NLBW16#page/n101/mode/1up.
Pennant, T. 1790. Indian Zoology Second Edition. London: Robert Faulder. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/indianzoolo00penn#page/n95/mode/2up.
Sharpe, R., W. Ogilvie Grant. 1898. Catalogue of the Plataleae, Herodiones, Steganopodes, Pygopodes, Alcae, an Impennes in the Collection of the British Museum. London: Longmans & Co.. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/catalogueofbirds26brit#page/414/mode/1up.
Sinclair, W. 1899. Plumage of the Snake-Bird (Plotus melanogaster). The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 12: 784. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/journalofbombayn121900bomb#page/784/mode/1up.
Whistler, H. 1949. Popular Handbook of Indian Birds. London: Gurney and Jackson. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/popularhandbooko033226mbp#page/n542/mode/1up.
Zoological Society of London, 1882. Proceedings of the general meetings for scientific business of the Zoological Society of London for the year 1882. Zoological Society of London: 208-212. Accessed October 23, 2012 at http://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofgen82busi#page/208/mode/2up.