HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Gobbling food helps threadsnakes avoid danger; in a snake-eat-ant world, it's survival of the fastest

AMHERST, Mass. - Although large snakes often fascinate people with their ability to swallow prey many times their size, the snakes' diminutive relatives, threadsnakes, have a unique feeding mechanism which may be equally important, according to University of Massachusetts biologists. The study which details the findings is published by organismic and evolutionary biology doctoral candidate Nate Kley and UMass faculty member Elizabeth Brainerd in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Nature.

"Typically when we think of snakes feeding, we think of pythons and boas eating large animals," said Kley. The snakes are able to do this because they have very flexible hinged jaws. Most snakes savor their infrequent feasts, taking anywhere from several minutes to several hours to consume a meal.

But threadsnakes, which measure just six to eight inches long and weigh in at roughly one gram, survive largely on the pupae and larvae of ants. "The only place you can find huge numbers of these are in ant nests," pointed out Kley, "so they search them out and rob the nest." Unlike their snake cousins, threadsnakes are chowhounds, tucking into meals at a rapid rate, with three or four bites each second. The front part of the triple-jointed lower jaws of these snakes swings in and out of the mouth "like a pair of saloon doors" in order to drag prey quickly into the esophagus, Kley said. The threadsnakes are the only vertebrates that scientists know of that use just their lower jaw to devour prey.

This rapid-fire eating pattern may have arisen due to the threadsnakes' hazardous foraging strategy, Kley and Brainerd suggest. When they invade ants' nests to find sufficient food, they have to eat very quickly to avoid being attacked, and even killed, by the large and powerful worker ants guarding the nests.

Very little research has previously been done on threadsnakes, partly because their small size makes th
'"/>

Contact: Elizabeth Luciano
luciano@journ.umass.edu
413-545-2989
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
23-Nov-1999


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Atacama rover helps NASA learn to search for life on Mars
2. Reducing allergens in the home helps inner-city children with asthma
3. As informatics grows, Indiana University helps set research agenda
4. New diagnostic technology helps justify earlier cataract surgery
5. New technique helps scientists reveal interactions between genes and drugs
6. Living at home helps young mothers stay in school
7. Hormone helps fish to mate, may affect human hearing
8. Harmless virus helps slow HIV by boosting immune proteins
9. Study helps explain island populations susceptibility to exotic diseases
10. Utah scientist helps discover new mouse species -- and maybe a new genus
11. Choice of food helps hungry caterpillar

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... -- A new partnership announced today will help life ... a fraction of the time it takes today, ... insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient and ... rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and higi,s ... pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at local ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys ... founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned ... of the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology ... of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of ... to the company. Dr. Bready served as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... 2016 Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: QBIO), ... a featured presenter at the 5th Annual Marcum MicroCap Conference ... City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. ... Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at 11a.m ET in ... strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for the balance of ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u has become a rising hotspot for specialized team building ... top attractions. Fortune 500 companies, such as Illumina, Hewlett-Packard, Qualcomm and Elsevier, have ... experience. , Each event kicks off with an olive oil and salt-tasting competition. ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... , ... Scientists at the University of Athens say they have evidence that ... the research that could lead to one good one. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted ... , The team evaluated 98 mesothelioma patients who got a second kind ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... --  MedyMatch Technology Ltd ., the data analytics healthcare company ... tools in the emergency room, announced today that it has ... Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. The Conference is ... Life Sciences and Technology Week, and is being held May ... Tel Aviv, Israel . Gene Saragnese , ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: