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:
(Date:4/21/2015)... , April 21, 2015 ... government policies are boosting access control systems market in ... According to a recently published report by TechSci Research ... ", the access control systems market in ... billion by 2020.The access control systems market in the ...
(Date:4/20/2015)... -- Huntington Memorial Hospital is the first facility in ... wireless monitoring sensor to manage heart failure (HF). The ... heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to ... manage heart failure. The CardioMEMS HF System ... artery (PA) during a non-surgical procedure to directly measure ...
(Date:4/20/2015)... , April 20, 2015 ...   Glenbeigh Records Management (GRM), Ireland,s ... with Dubai Islamic Bank. Having built up an impressive track ... now a leading player within the records management sector in ... expects to double is GCC staffbase and employ a further ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Saudi Arabia Access Control Systems Market to Touch USD1.2 Billion by 2020 Says TechSci Research 2Saudi Arabia Access Control Systems Market to Touch USD1.2 Billion by 2020 Says TechSci Research 3Huntington Memorial Hospital Becomes First in the San Gabriel Valley to Offer Patients a New Heart Failure Monitoring Solution 2Huntington Memorial Hospital Becomes First in the San Gabriel Valley to Offer Patients a New Heart Failure Monitoring Solution 3Glenbeigh Records Management Wins Contract With Dubai Islamic Bank 2Glenbeigh Records Management Wins Contract With Dubai Islamic Bank 3
(Date:4/23/2015)... MISSISSAUGA, ON , April 23, 2015 /CNW/ ... major sustainable packaging award from North ... Packaging,s Brandcheck Competitor Comparison won Silver in the ... Awards. The Brandcheck "Competitor Comparison" is ... set of North American and Global peers. This ...
(Date:4/23/2015)... 2015 Six startups from Russia ... 4-17 as part of the U.S.-Russia Innovation Corridor ... of biotechnology startups to participate in the program ... and the University of Maryland (UMD) signed a ... respective universities in the biomedical industry in 2013. ...
(Date:4/23/2015)... 23, 2015 WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE: ... technology platform company serving the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical ... and the United States , ... the first quarter of 2015 after the New York ... will be Thursday morning, May 14, 2015 Shanghai time). ...
(Date:4/23/2015)... April 23, 2015  Cryoport, Inc. (OTCBB: CYRX) ... solutions for the life sciences industry, today announced ... logistics solutions within the animal husbandry market by ... to support the shipment of equine semen for ... horse Stallions. Animal husbandry is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology:U.S.-Russian Innovation Corridor Program Connects Visiting Russian Startups to U.S. Experts 2U.S.-Russian Innovation Corridor Program Connects Visiting Russian Startups to U.S. Experts 3U.S.-Russian Innovation Corridor Program Connects Visiting Russian Startups to U.S. Experts 4WuXi PharmaTech Schedules First-Quarter 2015 Earnings Release 2WuXi PharmaTech Schedules First-Quarter 2015 Earnings Release 3Cryoport to Support the Equine Animal Husbandry Market Through Agreement with Yancey Farms 2Cryoport to Support the Equine Animal Husbandry Market Through Agreement with Yancey Farms 3
Cached News: