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Current Snake News and Events, Snake News Articles.
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UTSW researchers use snake venom to solve structure of muscle protein
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered the detailed shape of a key protein involved in muscle contraction. (2020-04-15)

Snake venom evolved for prey not protection
It is estimated that every year, over 100,000 human deaths can be attributed to snakebite from the world's 700 venomous snake species -- all inflicted in self-defence when the snakes feel threatened by encroaching humans. However, a new piece of research concludes that snake venom did not evolve as a defence mechanism. (2020-03-25)

Vibes before it bites: 10 types of defensive behaviour for the false coral snake
The False Coral Snake (Oxyrhopus rhombifer) may be capable of recognising various threat levels and demonstrates ten different defensive behaviours, seven of which are registered for the first time for the species. Scientists from the Federal University of Vi├žosa (Brazil) published their laboratory observation results based on a juvenile specimen in the open-access journal Neotropical Biology and Conservation. (2020-03-23)

Warming mountaintops put snake at risk of extinction
Climate change is a key factor contributing to the likely extinction of the Greek meadow viper, a new study has found. (2020-03-11)

USU herpetologist reports surprising evolutionary shift in snakes
A multi-national team of scientists reports a case of a vertebrate predator switching from a vertebrate prey to an invertebrate prey for the selective advantage of obtaining the same chemical class of defensive toxins. (2020-02-24)

Slithering snakes on a 2D plane
Snakes live in diverse environments ranging from unbearably hot deserts to lush tropical forests, where they slither up trees, rocks and shrubbery every day. By studying how these serpents move, Johns Hopkins engineers have created a snake robot that can nimbly and stably climb large steps. (2020-02-18)

The demise of tropical snakes, an 'invisible' outcome of biodiversity loss
That tropical amphibian populations have been crippled by the chytrid fungus is well-known, but a new study linking this loss to an 'invisible' decline of tropical snake communities suggests that the permeating impacts of the biodiversity crisis are not as apparent. (2020-02-13)

When frogs die off, snake diversity plummets
A new study in the journal Science, shows that the snake community become more homogenized and the number of species declined dramatically after chytrid fungus decimated frog populations in a remote forest in Panama. (2020-02-13)

The curious case of the disappearing snakes
A Michigan State University- and University of Maryland-led study featured on the cover of this week's Science magazine should sound alarm bells regarding the ''biodiversity crisis'' or the loss of wildlife around the world. (2020-02-13)

Fewer scars in the central nervous system
Researchers have discovered the influence of the coagulation factor fibrinogen on the damaged brain. (2020-01-31)

Snake stem cells used to create venom-producing organoids
Organoids have become an important tool for studying many disease processes and testing potential drugs. Now, they are being used in a surprising and unexpected way: for the production of snake venom. On Jan. 23 in the journal Cell, researchers are reporting that they have created organoids of the venom glands of the Cape coral snake (Aspidelaps lubricus cowlesi) and that these glands are capable of producing venom. (2020-01-23)

Venom-producing snake organoids developed in the lab
A team of scientists from the group of Hans Clevers at the Hubrecht Institute, the Netherlands, has developed a mini-venom glands of various snake species. These mini-glands (organoids) are derived from stem cells found in adult snakes and can be cultured indefinitely. Using their new model system, the scientists could identify new toxin-producing cells. The organoids were also used to produce venom in vitro. This may open up new paths for anti-venom and drug development. (2020-01-23)

Researchers trace Coronavirus outbreak in China to snakes
Emerging viral infections -- from bird flu to Ebola to Zika infections -- pose major threats to global public health, and understanding their origins can help investigators design defensive strategies against future outbreaks. A new study published in the Journal of Medical Virology provides important insights on the potential origins of the most recent outbreak of viral pneumonia in China, which started in the middle of December and now is spreading to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Japan. (2020-01-22)

New study provides insights for detecting the invasive brown treesnake
Visual surveys alone cannot sufficiently detect the Brown Treesnake (BTS), which was introduced to the island of Guam around the time of WWII and has contributed to significant biodiversity loss. Researchers coupled visual surveys with radio telemetry to form a powerful method of detecting the BTS. Their work will improve detection efforts and rapid response should the snake arrive on nearby snake-free islands. (2020-01-22)

How rattlesnakes' scales help them sip rainwater from their bodies (video)
During storms in the southwestern US, some rattlesnakes drink rain droplets from scales on their backs. This unusual behavior could help them survive in a desert environment with infrequent rain. Now, researchers have figured out how the nanotexture of scales from these snakes helps them use their bodies to harvest rain. They report their results in in ACS Omega. (2020-01-08)

Red-winged blackbird nestlings go silent when predators are near
If you're a predator that eats baby birds -- say, an American crow -- eavesdropping on the begging calls of nestlings can be an easy way to find your next meal. Few studies have investigated whether nestlings react to the sounds of predators, but new research shows that when their parents are away, baby red-winged blackbirds beg less often and stop begging sooner if they hear recordings of predators' calls. (2019-12-17)

Multiple correlations between brain complexity and locomotion pattern in vertebrates
Researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, have uncovered multi-level relationships between locomotion - the ways animals move - and brain architecture, using high-definition 3D models of lizard and snake brains. (2019-12-05)

Monkeys inform group members about threats -- following principles of cooperation
Humans are often faced with the choice of investing in the greater good or being selfish and letting others do the work. Animals that live in groups often encounter threats, and informing others could potentially save lives. Researcher of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology show that wild sooty mangabeys, when facing dangerous vipers, do not just call out of fear or to warn their family, but will call when the information about the threat might otherwise not reach all group members. (2019-12-02)

Fish size affects snake river salmon returns more than route through dams
The survival and eventual return of juvenile Snake River salmon and steelhead to spawning streams as adults depends more on their size than the way they pass through hydroelectric dams on their migration to the ocean, new research shows. (2019-11-25)

An ancient snake's cheekbone sheds light on evolution of modern snake skulls
New research from a collaboration between Argentinian and University of Alberta palaeontologists adds a new piece to the puzzle of snake evolution. (2019-11-20)

New fossils shed light on how snakes got their bite and lost their legs
New fossils of an ancient legged snake, called Najash, shed light on the origin of the slithering reptiles. The fossil discoveries published in Science Advances have revealed they possessed hind legs during the first 70 million years of their evolution. They also provide details about how the flexible skull of snakes evolved from their lizard ancestors. (2019-11-20)

Scientists invent animal-free testing of lethal neurotoxins
Animal testing will no longer be required to assess a group of deadly neurotoxins, thanks to University of Queensland-led research. Associate Professor Bryan Fry, of UQ's Venom Evolution Lab, said a new technique could replace conventional methods of testing paralytic neurotoxins, which previously required euthanasia of test subjects. (2019-10-29)

Underwater grandmothers reveal big population of lethal sea snakes
A group of snorkelling grandmothers is helping scientists better understand marine ecology by photographing venomous sea snakes in waters off the city of Noumea, New Caledonia. (2019-10-22)

Toad disguises itself as deadly viper to avoid attack -- world-first study reports
The first study of a toad mimicking a venomous snake reveals that it likely imitates one of Africa's largest vipers in both appearance and behaviour, according to results published in the Journal of Natural History. (2019-10-20)

The stellar nurseries of distant galaxies
Star clusters are formed by the condensation of molecular clouds. An international team led by UNIGE has been able to detect molecular clouds in a Milky Way progenitor, thanks to the unprecedented spatial resolution achieved in such a distant galaxy. These observations show that the distant clouds have a higher mass, density and internal turbulence than the clouds hosted in nearby galaxies and that they produce far more stars. (2019-09-16)

Tropical sea snake uses its head to 'breathe'
Humans use a snorkel and fish have gills. Now researchers have found a sea snake which uses a complex system of blood vessels in its head to draw in extra oxygen when it dives and swims underwater. During submersion, the blue-banded sea snake (Hydrophis cyanocinctus) is now thought to use an extensive vascular network across the top of its head to absorb oxygen from the surrounding water. (2019-09-03)

Snake fang-like patch quickly delivers liquid medicines in rodents
Scientists have created a microneedle patch based on the fangs of a snake that can deliver therapeutic liquids and a vaccine through the skin of rodents in under 15 seconds. (2019-07-31)

New snake species in Europe named after a long-forgotten Iron Age kingdom
Based on the genetic and morphological data, researchers were able to say that the Blotched Rat Snake (Elaphe sauromates) is actually comprised of two different species and includes a cryptic species that has been named after the old kingdom of Urartu. (2019-05-28)

How language developed: Comprehension learning precedes vocal production
Green monkeys' alarm calls allow conclusions about the evolution of language. (2019-05-27)

Scientists unearth 'utterly bizarre' chimera crab fossil
University of Alberta paleontologists discover a new-- and bizarre -- species of 90- to 95-million-year-old crab fossil with features of many different marine arthropods, calling to mind the chimera of Greek mythology. 'We have an idea of what a typical crab looks like -- and these new fossils break all those rules,' said Javier Luque, postdoctoral paleontologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. (2019-04-24)

Snake-inspired robot slithers even better than predecessor
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor. (2019-04-22)

Team measures puncture performance of viper fangs
A team that studies how biological structures such as cactus spines and mantis shrimp appendages puncture living tissue has turned its attention to viper fangs. Specifically, the scientists wanted to know, what physical characteristics contribute to fangs' sharpness and ability to puncture? They report their findings in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters. (2019-04-16)

Screw-shaped bird sperm swim faster -- but it comes at a cost
New research from the Natural History Museum in Oslo suggests that bird sperm cells with a spiral or screw-like shape swim faster than straighter sperm -- but that the spiral shape also makes them more fragile. (2019-04-04)

Sea snakes make record-setting deep dives
Sea snakes, best known from shallow tropical waters, have been recorded swimming at 250 meters in the deep-sea 'twilight zone,' smashing the previous diving record of 133 meters held by sea snakes. (2019-04-02)

UTA biologist shows new insights into chromosome evolution, venom regulation in snakes
In a new paper, a team of biologists addressed genomic questions by generating and analyzing the first most complete chromosome-level genome for a snake -- the prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis). Their work, 'The origins and evolution of chromosomes, dosage compensation, and mechanisms underlying venom regulation in snakes,' is published in the April issue of Genome Research, the scientific journal published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2019-03-29)

Arbitrary categories improve visual learning transfer, study finds
This type of learning transfer opens the door for applying basic cognitive science research to help patients with vision loss. (2019-03-28)

High-speed videos capture how kangaroo rat escapes rattlesnake attack
Kangaroo rats are abundant and seemingly defenseless seed-eating rodents that have to contend with a host of nasty predators, including rattlesnakes -- venomous pit vipers well known for their deadly, lightning-quick strikes. Research by a student-led team from UC Riverside, San Diego State University, and UC Davis now shows that desert kangaroo rats frequently foil snakes through a combination of fast reaction times, powerful evasive leaps, and mid-air, ninja-style kicks. (2019-03-27)

Anxiety-associated brain regions regulate threat responses in monkeys
Damage to parts of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a region within the prefrontal cortex, heightens monkeys' defensive responses to threat, according to new research published in JNeurosci. The study proposes a critical role for subregions of this brain area in different anxiety disorders. (2019-03-25)

New species of stiletto snake capable of sideways strikes discovered in West Africa
During surveys in the Upper Guinea forest zone of Liberia and Guinea, scientists discovered snakes later identified as a new to science species. It belongs to the stiletto snakes, spectacular for their unusual skulls, allowing them to stab sideways with a fang sticking out of the corner of their mouths. The discovery, published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution, is further evidence supporting the status of the region as unique in its biodiversity. (2019-03-11)

Brain scans shine light on how we solve clues
Partnered with machine learning, brain scans reveal how people understand objects in our world. (2019-02-25)

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