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Zoology (Jena). 2007;110(2):127-38. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

Modulation of prey capture kinematics and the role of lingual sensory feedback in the lizard Pogona vitticeps.

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Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen, Belgium.


Most organisms feed on a variety of prey that may differ dramatically in their physical and behavioural characteristics (e.g. mobility, mass, texture, etc.). Thus the ability to modulate prey capture behaviour in accordance with the characteristics of the food appears crucial. In animals that use rapid tongue movements to capture prey (frogs and chameleons), the coordination of jaws and tongue is based on visual cues gathered prior to the prey capture event. However, most iguanian lizards have much slower tongue-based prey capture systems suggesting that sensory feedback from the tongue may play an important role in coordinating jaw and tongue movements. We investigated the modulation of prey capture kinematics in the agamid lizard Pogona vitticeps when feeding on a range of food items differing in their physical characteristics. As the lizard is a dietary generalist, we expected it to be able to modulate its prey capture kinematics as a function of the (mechanical) demands imposed by the prey. Additionally, we investigated the role of lingual sensory feedback by transecting the trigeminal sensory afferents. Our findings demonstrated that P. vitticeps modulates its prey capture kinematics according to specific prey properties (e.g. size). In addition, transection of the trigeminal sensory nerves had a strong effect on prey capture kinematics. However, significant prey type effects and prey type by transection effects suggest that other sources of sensory information are also used to modulate the prey capture kinematics in P. vitticeps.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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