• A
  • A
  • A

Videos






Video Clips

All of the video clips on this page are in QuickTime format. I have tried to minimize the size of the files so that they will load relatively quickly. However, due to the extremely small size of some of these animals, I'm limited in the extent to which I can reduce frame size or resolution. Therefore, these clips may take a minute or two to load (depending on the speed of your connection).

Feeding Mechanisms of Blindsnakes

Mandibular raking in Leptotyphlopidae

Leptotyphlops dulcis feeding on an ant larva (1.26 MB, 280 x 74)
     (7.01 sec)
       This video was recorded in ventral aspect at 30 fps with a Sony digital video camera. Only a zoom lens was used for magnification, so the movements of the jaws are somewhat difficult to see here (this adult weighed approximately 1.5 g and had a head width of only about 2 mm). However, this clip does demonstrate the rapidity of the jaw movements involved in ingestion and intraoral transport in Leptotyphlops.

Leptotyphlops dulcis feeding on ant pupae (1.50 MB, 216 x 74)
     (7.19 sec)
       Like the sequence above, this video was recorded in ventral aspect at 30 fps with a Sony digital video camera. Here, however, the snake is feeding on several smaller ant pupae.

Leptotyphlops dulcis feeding on an ant pupa (3.29 MB, 160 x 160)
     (37.13 sec)
       This video was recorded in ventral aspect at 250 fps with a Kodak high speed video camera inserted into the camera port of a Nikon dissecting microscope (click here to see a schematic of my videographic methods). Playback is at 30 fps (e.g., approximately 1/8th actual speed). This higher level of magnification (and increased frame rate) affords a more detailed view of the mandibular raking mechanism associated with ingestion and intraoral transport in Leptotyphlops. In this sequence, flexion of the lower jaw may be seen beneath the skin due to the "hotspots" created by heavy lighting in the throat region. Notice the bilaterally synchronous cycles of mandibular protraction and retraction, made possible by the extremely flexible intramandibular joint characteristic of leptotyphlopids. To get a better look at the structure of this joint, check out the high-resolution CT scans of the skull of this species at digimorph.org.

Leptotyphlops dulcis feeding on an ant pupa (2.13 MB, 175 x 105)
     (25.00 sec)
       Like the sequence above, this video was recorded at 250 fps using magnified high-speed videography. Playback is at 30 fps (e.g., approximately 1/8th actual speed). In this sequence, the snake has tilted its head in the feeding chamber, thereby providing a ventrolateral view. Note that during jaw protraction, the lower jaw is slid forward beneath the ant pupa. Then, during jaw retraction, the mandible is flexed backward into the mouth, thereby dragging the pupa into the esophagus.

 

Maxillary raking in Typhlopidae

Typhlops lineolatus feeding on ant larvae and pupae (2.47 MB, 200 x 80)
     (15.04 sec)
       This video was recorded in ventral aspect at 30 fps with a Sony digital video camera. Movements of the upper jaws are nearly impossible to see here, but this clip does illustrate the exceptional rate at which typhlopids can ingest, transport and swallow their small insect prey.

Typhlops lineolatus feeding on ant pupae (4.72 MB, 340 x 160)
     (10.17 sec)
       Like the sequence above, this video was recorded in ventral aspect at 30 fps with a Sony digital video camera. In this clip, the snake tilts its head as it is feeding, thereby providing a lateral view of ingestion and intraoral transport. Note the extremely rapid movements of the upper jaws!

Typhlops lineolatus feeding on ant pupae (2.39 MB, 180 x 180)
     (9.28 sec)
       This video was recorded in ventral aspect at 250 fps using magnified high-speed videography. Playback is at 30 fps (e.g., approximately 1/8th actual speed). In this sequence, the teeth of the right maxilla can be seen to be protruded out of the mouth as the snake captures and ingests an ant pupa.

Typhlops lineolatus feeding on ant pupae (3.50 MB, 320 x 300)
     (12.02 sec)
       Like the sequence above, this video was recorded in ventral aspect at 250 fps using magnified high-speed videography. Playback is at 30 fps (e.g., approximately 1/8th actual speed). Note the asynchronous movements of the maxillae that characterize the typhlopid maxillary raking mechanism.

Typhlops lineolatus feeding on ant pupae (3.05 MB, 160 x 160)
     (29.24 sec)
       This video was also recorded in ventral aspect at 250 fps using magnified high-speed videography. Playback is at 30 fps (e.g., approximately 1/8th actual speed). In this 3.5 second (real time) sequence, the snake ingests seven ant pupae. As in the previous two video clips, rake-like movements of the maxillae can be seen during ingestion.

To learn more about the feeding mechanisms of blindsnakes, check out my research article, "Prey transport mechanisms in blindsnakes and the evolution of unilateral feeding systems in snakes" (American Zoologist 41: 1321-1337).


Revised 12/15/04 by Nate Kley