Meeting Abstract

P1.56  Jan. 4  The role of lingual sensory afferents in the control of prey capture and transport in the lizard Pogona vitticeps. SCHAERLAEKEN, V.**; HERREL, A.; MEYERS, J.J.; University of Antwerp; University of Antwerp; Tulane University, New Orleans

Most organisms feed on a variety of prey that may differ dramatically in their physical and behavioral characteristics. Thus the ability to modulate prey capture transport behavior in accordance to the characteristics of the food appears crucial. In animals that use rapid tongue movements to capture prey, the coordination of jaws and tongue are often based on visual cues gathered prior to the prey capture event. However, most iguanian lizards have much slower tongue-based prey capture and transport systems suggesting that sensory feedback from the tongue may play an important role in coordinating jaw and tongue movements. Also during the slow opening phase of prey transport where intimate and prolonged tongue-prey contact is established lingual sensory information can be used to modulate the latter part of the same, or the next feeding cycle. Here we investigate 1) the ability of the agamid lizard Pogona vitticeps to modulate prey capture and prey transport kinematics when feeding on a range of food items differing in their physical characteristics and 2) the role of lingual sensory feedback by bilateral transection of the lingual trigeminal sensory afferents. Our findings demonstrate that P. vitticeps modulates the kinematics of its feeding behavior in response to the mechanical demands imposed by different prey types. In addition, transection of the trigeminal sensory afferents has an effect on the movements of jaws and tongue during both capture and transport and increases the duration and number of transport cycles needed to process a given prey type.