Inertial feeding in the teiid lizard Tupinambis merianae: The effect of prey size on the movements of hyolingual apparatus and the cranio-cervical system

Stéphane J. Montuelle, Anthony Herrel, Vicky Schaerlaeken, Keith A. Metzger, Alexandre Mutuyeyezu, Vincent L. Bels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

In most terrestrial tetrapods, the transport of prey through the oral cavity is accomplished by movements of the hyolingual apparatus. Morphological specializations of the tongue in some lizard taxa are thought to be associated with the evolution of vomerolfaction as the main prey detection mode. Moreover, specializations of the tongue are hypothesized to compromise the efficiency of the tongue during transport; thus, driving the evolution of inertial transport. Here we use a large teiid lizard, Tupinambis merianae, as a model system to test the mechanical link between prey size and the use of inertial feeding. We hypothesize that an increase in prey size will lead to the increased recruitment of the cranio-cervical system for prey transport and a reduced involvement of the tongue and the hyolingual apparatus. Discriminant analyses of the kinematics of the craniocervical, jaw and hyolingual systems show that the transport of large prey is indeed associated with a greater utilization of the cranio-cervical system (i.e. neck and head positioning). The tongue retains a kinematic pattern characteristic of lingual transport in other lizards but only when processing small prey. Our data provide evidence for an integration of the hyolingual and craniocervical systems; thus, providing partial support for an evolutionary scenario whereby the specialization of the tongue for chemoreception has resulted in the evolution of inertial transport strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2501-2510
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Volume212
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2009

Keywords

  • Inertial feeding
  • Lizard
  • Prey transport
  • Tongue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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