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:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... DUBLIN , April 15, 2016 ... of the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait ... CAGR of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... movement angles, which can be used to compute ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Global demand for ... percent through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market ... beverages, cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and ... diagnostics, and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain ... by increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... a mission to bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare ... development and implementation of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences ... detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting ... cells (CTCs). The new test has already been ... in multiple cancer types. Over 230 ... damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: