Current Snake News and Events

Current Snake News and Events, Snake News Articles.
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Unique feeding behavior of Asian kukri snakes gutting frogs and toads
After describing a novel behaviour of the Small-banded Kukri Snake last September, two new studies, also led by Henrik Bringsøe, now report the same gruesome feeding strategy - where the snakes pierce the abdomen of frogs or toads to swallow their organs, as the prey remains alive for up to a few hours - in another two species: the Taiwanese Kukri Snake and the Ocellated Kukri Snake. The findings are published in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal Herpetozoa. (2021-02-18)

Flooding in the Columbia River basin expected to increase under climate change
The Columbia River basin will see an increase in flooding over the next 50 years as a result of climate change, (2021-02-10)

Soldiers, snakes and marathon runners in the hidden world of fungi
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have discovered the individual traits of fungi, and how their hyphae - that is, the fungal threads that grow in soil - behave very differently as they navigate through the earth's microscopic labyrinths. (2021-02-02)

Snake micro scales reveal secrets of sidewinding and slithering
The mesmerizing flow of a sidewinder moving obliquely across desert sands has captivated biologists for centuries and has been variously studied over the years, but questions remained about how the snakes produce their unique motion. (2021-02-02)

Physics of snakeskin sheds light on sidewinding
Sidewinders' bellies are studded with tiny pits and have few, if any, of the tiny spikes found on the bellies of other snakes. The discovery includes a mathematical model linking these distinct structures to function. (2021-02-01)

Snake sex chromosomes say less about sex and more about survival
A new study looks to snakes to broaden our understanding of what makes a gene able to survive on a sex-specific chromosome. Comparing surviving genes on snake sex-specific chromosomes to those that are lost to the ravages of time can teach scientists about the evolutionary pressures that shaped sex chromosomes as we know them today. (2021-01-21)

Researchers demonstrate snake venom evolution for defensive purposes
Researchers from LSTM's Centre for Snakebite Research and Interventions (CSRI) have led an international team investigating the evolutionary origins of a novel defensive trait by snakes - venom spitting - and demonstrated that defensive selection pressures can influence venom composition in snakes in a repeatable manner. (2021-01-21)

Inflammation caused by scorpion venom should be blocked immediately, study shows
In an article published in Nature Communications, Brazilian researchers show for the first time that in severe cases of scorpion envenomation it is the neuroimmune reaction triggered by the venom that leads to death. (2021-01-20)

Exploration of toxic Tiger Rattlesnake venom advances use of genetic science techniques
A team of researchers led by the University of South Florida has decoded the genome of the Tiger Rattlesnake, which has venom 40 times more toxic than that of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes, the largest venomous snake in North America. (2021-01-19)

Snakes evolve a magnetic way to be resistant to venom
Certain snakes have evolved a unique genetic trick to avoid being eaten by venomous snakes, according to University of Queensland research. Associate Professor Bryan Fry from UQ's Toxin Evolution Lab said the technique worked in a manner similar to the way two sides of a magnet repel each other. (2021-01-14)

Scientists discover bizarre new mode of snake locomotion
Researchers have discovered a new mode of snake locomotion that allows the brown tree snake to ascend much larger smooth cylinders than any previously known behavior. (2021-01-11)

This tree snake climbs with a lasso-like motion
Researchers reporting in Current Biology on January 11 have discovered that invasive brown tree snakes living on Guam can get around in a way that had never been seen before. The discovery of the snake's lasso-like locomotion for climbing their way up smooth vertical cylinders has important implications, both for understanding the snakes and for conservation practices aimed at protecting birds from them. (2021-01-11)

Research shows rising lizard temperatures may change predator-prey relationship with snakes
Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and Toho University have discovered that predation by snakes is pushing lizards to be active at warmer body temperatures on islands where snakes are present, in comparison to islands free from snakes. The findings show that lizard thermal biology is highly dependent on predation pressures and that body temperatures are rising suggest that such ectothermic predator-prey relationships may be changing under climatic warming. (2021-01-07)

Remarkable new species of snake found hidden in a biodiversity collection
A graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas was intrigued by an overlooked snake in the collections of the KU Biodiversity Institute. It turned out it's both a new genus, and a new species, published today in the journal Copeia. (2020-12-23)

Deadly snake bites: Potential antivenom discovered
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people lose their mobility or life after having been bitten by a venomous snake. The problem is particularly widespread in low-income countries, as antivenom is expensive, or not available, and treatment requires trained healthcare personnel. Now Danish researchers propose an alternative type of antivenom, named Serpentides, that is simple to make, cheaper to produce and can be used by anyone, anywhere. (2020-11-26)

Single brain region links depression and anxiety, heart disease, and treatment sensitivity
Over-activity in a single brain region called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) underlies several key symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, but an antidepressant only successfully treats some of the symptoms. A new study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that sgACC is a crucial region in depression and anxiety, and targeted treatment based on a patient's symptoms could lead to better outcomes. (2020-10-26)

Thermal vision of snakes inspires soft pyroelectric materials
Converting heat into electricity is a property thought to be reserved only for stiff materials like crystals. However, researchers--inspired by the infrared (IR) vision of snakes--developed a mathematical model for converting soft, organic structures into so-called 'pyroelectric' materials. The study, appearing October 21, 2020 in the journal Matter, proves that soft matter can be transformed into a pyroelectric material and potentially solves a long-held mystery surrounding the mechanism of IR vision in snakes. (2020-10-21)

How do snakes 'see' in the dark? Researchers have an answer
Certain species of snake -- think pit vipers, boa constrictors and pythons, among others -- are able to find and capture prey with uncanny accuracy, even in total darkness. Now scientists have discovered how these creatures are able to convert the heat from organisms that are warmer than their ambient surroundings into electrical signals, allowing them to 'see' in the dark. (2020-10-21)

Study finds fungal disease of snakes in 19 states, Puerto Rico
In a collaborative effort between scientists and personnel on military bases in 31 states in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, researchers surveyed for an infection caused by an emerging fungal pathogen that afflicts snakes. The effort found infected snakes on military bases in 19 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that the fungus is more widely distributed than was previously known. The team reports the findings in the journal PLOS ONE. (2020-10-08)

Snakes reveal the origin of skin colours
The skin colour of vertebrates depends on chromatophores. A team from the University of Geneva is studying the variety of colours within the corn snake species. The research, demonstrates that the dull colour of the lavender variant of corn snake is caused by the mutation of a gene involved in forming lysosomes enough to affect every skin colour. The UNIGE study marks a step forward in our understanding of the origin of skin colours. (2020-10-05)

Snakes disembowel and feed on the organs of living toads in a first for science
The Small-banded Kukri Snake seems to have evolved a particularly macabre feeding habit that has never been witnessed in a serpent before. Danish-Thai researchers documented three occasions where a snake uses its enlarged posterior maxillary teeth to cut open the abdomen of a large poisonous toad, then inserts its entire head to pull out the organs one by one, while the prey is still alive. The discovery was published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Herpetozoa. (2020-09-28)

Human acid-sensing ion channel 1a inhibition by snake toxin Mambalgin1
USTC initially resolved the hASIC1a and freeze electron structure of the compound of hASCI1a and Mambalgin1 through freeze electron microscopic technology. (2020-09-27)

Archaeology: X-ray imaging provides unique snapshot of ancient animal mummification
Analysis of three mummified animals - a cat, a bird and a snake - from Ancient Egypt using advanced 3D X-ray imaging is described in a paper published in Scientific Reports. The technique provides insights into the conditions in which the animals were kept, their complex mummification process and their possible causes of death, without causing damage to the specimens. (2020-08-20)

Animal mummies unwrapped with hi-res 3D X-rays
Three mummified animals from ancient Egypt have been digitally unwrapped and dissected by researchers, using high-resolution 3D scans that give unprecedented detail about the animals' lives - and deaths - over 2000 years ago. The three animals - a snake, a bird and a cat - are from the collection held by the Egypt Centre at Swansea University. Previous investigations had identified which animals they were, but very little else was known about what lay inside the mummies. (2020-08-20)

'Fang'tastic: researchers report amphibians with snake-like dental glands
Utah State University biologist Edmund 'Butch' Brodie, Jr. and colleagues from Brazil's Butantan Institute describe oral glands in a family of terrestrial caecilians, serpent-like amphibians related to frogs and salamanders. (2020-07-03)

New 3D model shows how the paradise tree snake uses aerial undulation to fly
For more than 20 years, Virginia Tech biomedical engineering and mechanics professor Jake Socha has sought to measure and model the biomechanics of snake flight and answer questions about them, like that of aerial undulation's functional role. (2020-06-29)

In the wild, chimpanzees are more motivated to cooperate than bonobos
Scientists investigated cooperation dynamics in wild chimpanzees (Tai, Ivory Coast) and bonobos (LuiKotale, DCR) using a snake model. While chimpanzees cooperate to defend their territory, bonobos do not. The study reveals no differences in both species' social intelligence but supports theories linking territoriality and in-group cooperation in humans since chimpanzees were more motivated to cooperate by informing others of a threat as compared to bonobos. (2020-06-24)

Sunnier but riskier
Conservation efforts that open up the canopy of overgrown habitat for threatened timber rattlesnakes are beneficial to snakes but could come at a cost, according to a new study. (2020-06-24)

Discovery of ancient super-eruptions indicates the yellowstone hotspot may be waning
Throughout Earth's long history, volcanic super-eruptions have been some of the most extreme events ever to affect our planet's rugged surface. Surprisingly, even though these explosions eject enormous volumes of material -- at least 1,000 times more than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens--and have the potential to alter the planet's climate, relatively few have been documented in the geologic record. (2020-06-03)

Tiger snakes tell more about local wetlands' pollution levels
Tiger snakes living in Perth's urban wetlands are accumulating toxic heavy metals in their livers, suggesting that their habitats -- critical, local ecosystems -- are contaminated and the species may be suffering as a result. (2020-06-02)

Kirigami grips could help seniors keep their footing
Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and MIT have developed pop-up shoe grips, inspired by snake skin, that can increase friction between the shoe and the ground. The assistive grips could be used, among other things, to reduce the risk of falling among older adults. (2020-06-01)

Sea snakes have been adapting to see underwater for 15 million years
A study led by the University of Plymouth (UK) has for the first time provided evidence of where, when and how frequently species have adapted their ability to see in color. (2020-05-28)

What information is coded in bird alarm calls -- a new study from Korea
Recordings of the Oriental tit's alarm responses showed that alarm calls to snakes have special acoustic properties different from calls to chipmunks, even though both predators can enter bird's nests and destroy broods. Nestlings escaped from nests (and from the snake) when they heard a recording of the ''snake call'' but not ''chipmunk call'' by parents. This suggests that the calls do not carry information about predator's ability to enter the nest cavity, and that snakes are ''special'' predators. (2020-05-25)

The European viper uses cloak-and-dazzle to escape predators
Research of the University of Jyväskylä demonstrates that the characteristic zig-zag pattern on a viper's back performs opposing functions during a predation event. At first, the zig-zag pattern helps the snake remain undetected. But upon exposure, it provides a conspicuous warning of the snake's dangerous defense. Most importantly the zig-zag can also produce an illusionary effect that may hide the snake's movement as it flees. The research was published in Animal Behaviour in May 2020. (2020-05-21)

How do birds understand 'foreign' calls?
New research from Kyoto University show that the coal tit (Periparus ater) can eavesdrop and react to the predatory warning calls of the Japanese tit (Parus minor) and evokes a visual image of the predator in their mind (2020-05-19)

Why cats have more lives than dogs when it comes to snakebite
Cats are twice as likely to survive a venomous snakebite than dogs, and the reasons behind this strange phenomenon have been revealed by University of Queensland research. The research team, led by Ph.D. student Christina Zdenek and Associate Professor Bryan Fry, compared the effects of snake venoms on the blood clotting agents in dogs and cats, hoping to help save the lives of our furry friends. (2020-05-18)

Reptile poaching in Balochistan (Pakistan) is on a decreasing trend but still troublesome
Since 2013, following strict enforcement of provincial wildlife legislation in the less studied regions of Asia, the overall trend of illegal reptile poaching is steadily decreasing. Despite that, the issue is not yet resolved and poached reptiles are largely destined not only for the international pet trade, but also utilized in folk medicines and snake charmer shows, according to a recent study, published in the open-access journal Herpetozoa. (2020-05-14)

Beads made of boa bones identified in lesser Antilles
Today Boa snakes have a patchy distribution in the islands that form the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, but the constrictors are nearly absent from archaeological deposits in the region. Whether this scarcity is due to biological or cultural factors remains unknown. The current study describes the first Boa finds on Martinique, Basse-Terre and La Désirade, and provides a new hypothesis concerning the relationship between indigenous human populations and Boa prior to Western colonization. (2020-05-14)

Waiting game: testing the patience of predators and prey
A new report from Kyoto University shows that freezing in action when a snake and frog face off is not about fear but rather a delicate waiting game of patience, with each animal waiting for and anticipating its opponent's actions. (2020-05-11)

Welcome to the House of Slytherin: Salazar's pit viper, a new green pit viper from India
During an expedition to Arunachal Pradesh in India, part of the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot, a new species of green pit viper Trimeresurus salazar with unique stripes and colouration patterns was discovered near Pakke Tiger Reserve. Scientists named the snake after J.K. Rowling's fictional character, the Parselmouth wizard and the founder of one of the houses in the magical school Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin. The discovery is published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. (2020-04-21)

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