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      Eviscerated alive: Novel and macabre feeding strategy in Oligodon fasciolatus (Günther, 1864) eating organs of Duttaphrynus melanostictus (Schneider, 1799) in Thailand

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      Herpetozoa

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          A hitherto unknown feeding mode among snakes is described for the colubrid snake Oligodon fasciolatus in Northeast Thailand. Three cases of O. fasciolatus using enlarged posterior maxillary teeth to cut open the abdomen of a live poisonous toad Duttaphrynus melanostictus and eat its organs are described. The snakes and toads fought vigorously, and the toads secreted toxic white liquid on the dorsum and neck. The snakes inserted their heads into the abdomen of the toads, pulled out some of the organs and swallowed them. The snakes and toads were adults. All three cases were documented by extensive photographic material. In a fourth case from Central Thailand, an adult O. fasciolatus was observed swallowing an entire semi-adult D. melanostictus. The majority of all snake species swallow their prey in one piece, but to place our observations in a broader context we review a number of exceptions.

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          Most cited references 24

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          The Amphibian Fauna of Thailand

           E H Taylor (1962)
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            Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution.

            The question about whether evolution is unpredictable and stochastic or intermittently constrained along predictable pathways is the subject of a fundamental debate in biology, in which understanding convergent evolution plays a central role. At the molecular level, documented examples of convergence are rare and limited to occurring within specific taxonomic groups. Here we provide evidence of constrained convergent molecular evolution across the metazoan tree of life. We show that resistance to toxic cardiac glycosides produced by plants and bufonid toads is mediated by similar molecular changes to the sodium-potassium-pump (Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase) in insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. In toad-feeding reptiles, resistance is conferred by two point mutations that have evolved convergently on four occasions, whereas evidence of a molecular reversal back to the susceptible state in varanid lizards migrating to toad-free areas suggests that toxin resistance is maladaptive in the absence of selection. Importantly, resistance in all taxa is mediated by replacements of 2 of the 12 amino acids comprising the Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase H1-H2 extracellular domain that constitutes a core part of the cardiac glycoside binding site. We provide mechanistic insight into the basis of resistance by showing that these alterations perturb the interaction between the cardiac glycoside bufalin and the Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase. Thus, similar selection pressures have resulted in convergent evolution of the same molecular solution across the breadth of the animal kingdom, demonstrating how a scarcity of possible solutions to a selective challenge can lead to highly predictable evolutionary responses.
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              Toad’s tongue for breakfast: exploitation of a novel prey type, the invasive cane toad, by scavenging raptors in tropical Australia

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Herpetozoa
                Herpetozoa
                Pensoft Publishers
                2682-955X
                1013-4425
                September 11 2020
                September 11 2020
                : 33
                : 157-163
                Article
                10.3897/herpetozoa.33.e57096
                © 2020

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