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Prey capture in lizards



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new non-dino paper that might be of interest:

MONTUELLE, S. J., HERREL, A., LIBOUREL, P.-A., DAILLIE, S. and BELS,
V. L. (2012)
Prey capture in lizards: differences in jaw–neck–forelimb coordination.
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01809.x
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01809.x/abstract


Although prey capture is thought to be based on the coordinated
movements of the jaw and locomotor apparatus (i.e. the vertebral
column and the limbs), jaw–neck–forelimb coordination has never been
compared among related species. The kinematics of jaw, neck, and
forelimb movements were recorded in lizards that use jaw prehension:
Gerrhosaurus major, Tupinambis merianae, Varanus niloticus, and
Varanus ornatus. These species provide a comparative framework to
discuss the influence of morphological differences and ecological
convergence on the jaw–neck–forelimb coordination patterns.
Jaw–neck–forelimb coordination was quantified by determining whether
maximum neck elevation and maximum forelimb flexion are synchronized
with either the start of jaw opening or maximum gape. Significant
differences in the jaw–neck–forelimb coordination pattern among
species were observed, with maximum neck elevation being synchronized
with the start of jaw opening in varanids, whereas in T. merianae and
G. major, it is achieved closer to maximum gape. Differences in
locomotor–feeding integration are suggested to be related to dietary
specializations, and as such may play a role in feeding adaptation.
The jaw–neck–forelimb coordination pattern used by varanids may indeed
be advantageous to prepare a quick strike triggered from further away,
providing a critical advantage when feeding on evasive prey.