Jun 4, 2010

Separating the effects of prey size and speed on the kinematics of prey capture in the omnivorous lizard Gerrhosaurus major

Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Stéphane J MontuelleVincent L Bels


Feeding behavior is known to be modulated as prey properties change. During prey capture, external prey properties, including size and mobility, are likely some of the most important components in predator-prey interactions. Whereas prey size has been demonstrated to elicit modulation of jaw movements during capture, how prey speed affects the approach and capture of prey remains unknown. We quantified the kinematics associated with movements of both the feeding and locomotor systems during prey capture in a lizard, Gerrhosaurus major, while facing prey differing in size and mobility (newborn mice, grasshoppers, and mealworms). Our data show that the feeding and locomotor systems were recruited differently in response to changes in the size or speed of the prey. The timing of jaw movements and of the positioning of the head are affected by changes in prey size-and speed, to a lesser extent. Changes in prey speed resulted in concomitant changes in the speed of strike and an early and greater elevation of the neck. External prey properties, and prey mobility in particular, are relevant in predator-prey interactions and elicit specific responses in different functional systems.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Motor Skills
Gerrhosaurus major
Multivariate Analysis
Tenebrio molitor

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