David A Penning

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Snakes are important predators that have radiated throughout many ecosystems, and constriction was important in their radiation. Constrictors immobilize and kill prey by using body loops to exert pressure on their prey. Despite its importance, little is known about constriction performance or its full effects on prey. We studied the scaling of constriction(More)
Constriction is a prey-immobilization technique used by many snakes and is hypothesized to have been important to the evolution and diversification of snakes. However, very few studies have examined the factors that affect constriction performance. We investigated constriction performance in ball pythons (Python regius) by evaluating how peak constriction(More)
Across the diversity of vertebrates, bite force has been studied and suggested to have important ecological and evolutionary consequences. However, there is a notable lineage of vertebrates that use this performance trait yet are missing from the bite-force literature: the snakes. Snakes often rely on biting during prey subjugation and handling. Many snakes(More)
To survive, organisms must avoid predation and acquire nutrients and energy. Sensory systems must correctly differentiate between potential predators and prey, and elicit behaviours that adjust distances accordingly. For snakes, strikes can serve both purposes. Vipers are thought to have the fastest strikes among snakes. However, strike performance has been(More)
Across ecosystems and trophic levels, predators are usually larger than their prey, and when trophic morphology converges, predators typically avoid predation on intraguild competitors unless the prey is notably smaller in size. However, a currently unexplained exception occurs in kingsnakes in the genus Lampropeltis Kingsnakes are able to capture,(More)
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