Current Snakes News and Events

Current Snakes News and Events, Snakes 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)

Research findings can help to increase population size of endangered species
The findings of a new study examining the behaviours of alligator and caiman hatchlings have enhanced our understanding of how we can conserve, and increase, the population of endangered crocodilian species. (2021-02-03)

Study challenges ecology's 'Field of Dreams' hypothesis
A new study challenges the ''Field of Dreams'' hypothesis in restoration ecology, which predicts that restoring plant biodiversity will lead to recovery of animal biodiversity. The study of restored tallgrass prairie found the effects of management strategies (specifically controlled burns and bison reintroduction) on animal communities were six times stronger on average than the effects of plant biodiversity. (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)

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)

Invasive in the U.S., lifesaver Down Under
New research reveals monitor lizards should be regarded as ''ecosystem engineers'' as they provide food and shelter to other reptiles, insects and mammals, helping prevent extinction. (2020-12-21)

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)

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)

A timeline on the evolution of reptiles
A statistical analysis of that vast database is helping scientists better understand the evolution of these cold-blooded vertebrates by contradicting a widely held theory that major transitions in evolution always happened in big, quick (geologically speaking) bursts, triggered by major environmental shifts. (2020-10-06)

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)

Venom glands similar to those of snakes are found for first time in amphibians
Brazilian researchers discover that caecilians, limbless amphibians resembling worms or snakes that emerged some 150 million years before the latter, can probably inject venom into their prey while biting. (2020-10-01)

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)

Montana State researcher featured in Nature for work on rare reptile genome
Chris Organ worked with an international group of scientists to sequence the genome of the tuatara, a reptile found only in New Zealand with an evolutionary history stretching back 250 million years. (2020-08-14)

Dinosaur relative's genome linked to mammals
Scientists from the University of Adelaide and South Australian Museum have collaborated with Otago University, New Zealand and a global team to sequence the genome of the tuatara - a rare reptile whose ancestors once roamed the earth with dinosaurs. (2020-08-05)

NAU biologist part of international team to sequence genome of rare 'living fossil'
Northern Arizona University assistant professor Marc Tollis is one of a dozen collaborators sequencing the genome of the tuatara, a lizard-like creature that lives on the islands of New Zealand. This groundbreaking research was done in partnership with the Māori people of New Zealand, (2020-08-05)

The curious genome of the tuatara, an ancient reptile in peril
International scientists and Ngātiwai, a Māori tribe, teamed up to sequence the genome of a rare reptile, the tuatara, uncovering some unique aspects of the tuatara's evolution. The genome sequence will enable comparative studies to better understand the evolution of the tuatara and its distant relatives: other reptiles, birds, and mammals. Shedding light on the tuatara's biology will help protect this vulnerable species. (2020-08-05)

Hot or cold, venomous vipers still quick to strike
Most reptiles move slower when temperatures drop, but venomous rattlesnakes appear to be an exception. The cold affects them, but not as much as scientists expected. (2020-07-23)

First evidence of snake-like venom glands found in amphibians
Caecilians are limbless amphibians that can be easily mistaken for snakes. Though caecilians are only distantly related to their reptilian cousins, researchers in a study appearing July 3 in the journal iScience describe specialized glands found along the teeth of the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), which have the same biological origin and possibly similar function to the venom glands of snakes. As such, caecilians may represent the oldest land-dwelling vertebrate animal with oral venom glands. (2020-07-03)

'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)

Did adaptive radiations shape reptile evolution?
A Harvard research team examined the largest data set of living and extinct major reptile groups to tackle the how adaptive radiations have shaped reptile evolution. Using DNA information from modern species and anatomical features from modern and fossil species, the study detected periods of fast anatomical change during the origin of reptile groups often predate when those groups diversified into hundreds or thousands of species, contradicting ideas of adaptive radiation in evolution biology. (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)

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)

First egg from Antarctica is big and might belong to an extinct sea lizard
An analysis led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has found that a mysterious fossil discovered in 2011 is a giant, soft-shell egg from about 66 million years ago. Measuring in at more than 11 by 7 inches, the egg is the largest soft-shell egg ever discovered and the second-largest egg of any known animal. (2020-06-17)

What makes a giant jellyfish's sting deadly
With summer on the way, and some beaches reopening after COVID-19 shutdowns, people will be taking to the ocean to cool off on a hot day. But those unlucky enough to encounter the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai (also known as Nomura's jellyfish) might wish they had stayed on shore. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research have identified the key toxins that make the creature's venom deadly to some swimmers. (2020-06-10)

Restoring vision by gene therapy
Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration. (2020-06-04)

Human activity threatens 50 billion years of vertebrate evolutionary history
A new study maps for the first time the evolutionary history of the world's terrestrial vertebrates: amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. It explores how areas with large concentrations of evolutionarily distinct species are being impacted by our ever-increasing 'human footprint.' (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)

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)

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