Navigation Links
Snakes on a rope: Researchers take a unique look at the climbing abilities of boa constrictors
Date:11/30/2010

In a unique study involving young boa constrictors, University of Cincinnati researchers put snakes to work on varying diameters and flexibility of vertical rope to examine how they might move around on branches and vines to gather food and escape enemies in their natural habitat. The findings by Greg Byrnes, a University of Cincinnati postdoctoral fellow in the department of biological sciences, and Bruce C. Jayne, a UC professor of biology, are published in the December issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology.

For many Americans, it was the most dreaded moment in gym class: the challenge to wrap oneself around a vertical rope and climb as high as possible. Some of us couldn't even get off the floor. But for other animals even with no arms, no hands, no legs and no feet that climbing ability is a necessity to survive.

The UC researchers sent the snakes climbing up varying widths and tensions of ropes as they explored snake movement in relation to their musculoskeletal design and variation in their environment.

They found that regardless of diameter or flexibility of the rope, the snakes alternated curving between left and right as they climbed the ropes. On the thicker ropes, they were able to move greater portions of their bodies forward as they climbed. As the ropes became thinner and more flimsy, the snakes used more of their bodies including their back, sides and belly to manipulate the rope for climbing.

"Despite the likely physical and energetic challenges, the benefits of the ability to move on narrow and compliant substrates might have large ecological implications for animals," write the authors. "Arboreal organisms must often feed or hunt in the terminal branch niche, which requires the ability to move safely on narrow and compliant substrates."

Jayne points out that although the large muscles of boa constrictors make them fairly stocky and heavy compared to other snakes, this anatomy probably increases their strength. All of the snakes gripped the ropes using a concertina mode of locomotion, which is defined by some regions of the body periodically stopping while other regions of the body extend forward. "It turns out boa constrictors are strong enough so that they can support their weight with a modest number of gripping regions," adds Jayne.

The researchers say their findings are the first study that has explicitly examined the combined effects of diameter and compliance on how an animal gets around. Future research is underway to compare differing muscular anatomies in snakes and relate it to their function in terms of their behavior and their environment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dawn Fuller
dawn.fuller@uc.edu
513-556-1823
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Fragmented forests result in more snakes, fewer birds
2. Report documents the risks of giant invasive snakes in the US
3. Study of isolated snakes could help shed light on venom composition
4. Venomous sea snakes play heads or tails with their predators
5. Snakes and how they helped our big brains evolve
6. Zoologists: Sea snakes seek out freshwater to slake thirst
7. Snakes, salamanders and other creatures thrive in areas with higher deer populations
8. VIV Europe: COST workshop on animal nutrition and health -- benefiting from research networks
9. Researchers kick-start ancient DNA
10. Gene links to anorexia found by Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia researchers
11. UGA researchers identify key enzyme that regulates the early growth of breast cancer cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/18/2016)... March 18, 2016 --> ... Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter ... companies in the border security market and the continuing migration ... Europe has led visiongain to publish ... success. --> defence & security companies in ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... http://www.apimages.com ) - ... - Renvoi : image disponible via AP Images ( ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation ... d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des réfugiés en Allemagne. ... produire des cartes d,identité aux réfugiés. DERMALOG dévoilera ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... YORK , March 9, 2016 This ... and future states of the RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) ... segments such as instruments, tools and reagents, data analysis, ... Analyze various segments of the RNA-Sequencing market such as ... services Identify the main factors affecting each segment and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Kinder Scientific (KinderScientific.com), a leading animal ... the Company for the future. Kinder Scientific announces restructured ownership and additional ... appointed Chairman of the Board, Curtis D. Kinghorn has been appointed CEO/President and ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Thailand’s Board of Investment’s New York ... Francisco. Located at booth number 7301, representatives from the Thai Government, research organizations, ... Thai biotechnology and life sciences sector. , Deputy Secretary General of the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) outlining ... if clinically relevant data were available when and where it was needed. The ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Lady had been battling arthritis since the age of two and at the ... Hannah sought the help of Dr Jeff Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions ... help with the pain of Lady’s arthritis. Dr Christiansen suggested that in conjunction with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: