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Feeding behavior and mechanisms in goo-eaters snakes (Dipsadidae: Dipsadinae), and its infralabial gland secretion characterization.

Grant number: 12/12587-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2012
Effective date (End): August 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Hussam El Dine Zaher
Grantee:Michelle Vanessa Campagner Marques
Host Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50206-9 - Origin and evolution of snakes and their diversification in the Neotropics: a multidisciplinary approach, AP.BTA.TEM


The "goo-eaters" are formed by a group of Dipsadinae that feed only on soft viscous invertebrates (generally molluscs such as slugs, snails and earthworms). In addition to the morphological and behavioural specializations associated with this feeding habit, the secretion of the infralabials' glands probably enables the rapid and skilled handling of the viscous prey. The immobilization of the prey may be advantageous because it would facilitate the ingestion, reducing the risks associated with feeding. The aim of this study is to characterize in detail the feeding behavior and mechanisms associated with prey restraint and immobilization, as well as the secretion composition of the infralabials glands of the goo-eaters Atractus reticulatus, Dipsas albifrons, and Sibynomorphus mikanii and S. neuwiedi. The evaluation of the feeding behavior and mechanisms will be analyzed through the use of high speed frame-by-frame footage techniques. We will analyze the movements made by the trophic apparatus of each species of snake and handling time of the prey. To characterize the secretion from the infralabials' glands different extraction methods will be evaluated. Proteomics and peptidomics, as well as techniques for the examination of proteases' presence, will be applied to the purified secretions obtained. The relationship between the function of the thophic apparatus and the product of the Dipsadinae's infralabials glands can provide information about the bio-active substances used by the animal in the restraint of their preys and the phylogenetic relationships between snakes within this group.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ZAHER, HUSSAM; DE OLIVEIRA, LEONARDO; GRAZZIOTIN, FELIPE G.; CAMPAGNER, MICHELLE; JARED, CARLOS; ANTONIAZZI, MARTA M.; PRUDENTE, ANA L.. Consuming viscous prey: a novel protein-secreting delivery system in neotropical snail-eating snakes. BMC Evolutionary Biology, v. 14, . (12/12587-3, 11/50206-9)

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