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High speed motion analysis of the predatory strike and fluorographic study of oesophageal deglutition in Vipera ammodytes: more than meets the eye

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The predatory strike of Vipera ammodytes was analysed using high speed cinematography. Slow motion studies showed that the strike is a direct hit and that ensuing body postures are complex and occur within a very short time. Flawed strikes have been recorded and are discussed. Radiographic study of oesophageal deglutition demonstrated a lateral undulation of the cervical column resulting from metachronic contractions of body wall musculature, causing prey progress. Some comparative data on Bitis nasicornis and B.gabonica are given.

Affiliations: 1: URA 1137, Laboratoire d'Anatomie Comparée, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France


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