Salamander with a ballistic tongue

  title={Salamander with a ballistic tongue},
  author={Stephen M. Deban and David B. Wake and Gerhard Roth},
Lungless salamanders of the family Plethodontidae capture prey using the most enhanced tongue-protrusion mechanisms found in amphibians. Salamanders of the genus Hydromantes are the most extreme specialists, possessing tongues that can be shot with great accuracy at prey several centimetres away (Fig. 1), reaching the target in a few milliseconds. We have found that the tongue of Hydromantes is a true projectile. It is fired from the mouth by a ballistic mechanism, and is not simply an… 

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Ballistic tongue projection in a miniaturized salamander.
  • S. M. Deban, Segall V Bloom
  • Biology, Medicine
    Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological and integrative physiology
  • 2018
High-speed imaging and dynamics analysis of feeding at a range of temperatures show that tongue projection in Thorius macdougalli is ballistic and achieves accelerations of up to 600 G with low thermal sensitivity, indicating that tongue projections are powered by an elastic-recoil mechanism.
Extremely high-power tongue projection in plethodontid salamanders
The dynamics of tongue projection in three genera of plethodontids (Bolitoglossa, Hydromantes and Eurycea), representing three independent evolutionary transitions to ballistic tongue projection, are examined by using a combination of high speed imaging, kinematic and inverse dynamics analyses and electromyographic recordings from the tongue projector muscle.
Cold-blooded snipers: thermal independence of ballistic tongue projection in the salamander Hydromantes platycephalus.
Results reveal that the elastic-recoil mechanism liberates tongue projection from the effects of temperature on muscle contractile rates, and suggest that relative thermal independence is a general characteristic of elastic- recoil mechanisms and may promote the evolution of these mechanisms in ectothermic animals.
Activation patterns of the tongue-projector muscle during feeding in the imperial cave salamander Hydromantes imperialis
SUMMARY Salamanders of the genus Hydromantes project their tongues the greatest distance of any amphibian to capture prey, up to 80% of body length or approximately 6 cm in an adult individual.
Are Morphological Specializations of the Hyolingual System in Chameleons and Salamanders Tuned to Demands on Performance?*
Interestingly, the data show that at least in chameleons, the extreme design of the tongue in function of prey capture appears to have consequences on prey transport, resulting in an increased dependence on the hyoid.
Metamorphosis and evolution of feeding behaviour in salamanders of the family Plethodontidae
It is found that larval plethodontids suctionFeed, but feeding is suspended entirely during metamorphosis, and aquatic adults do not suction feed, substantiate the premise that suction feeding and tongue protraction are conflicting functions, and support the constraint hypothesis.
Motor control of tongue movement during prey capture in plethodontid salamanders
  • Deban, Dicke
  • Biology, Medicine
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1999
Four species of salamander were examined using electromyographic recording during prey-capture behavior to test the hypotheses that the tongue retractor, tongue protractor and jaw depressor muscles are activated simultaneously and in a stereotyped pattern, and to determine whether species with different tongue morphologies and tongue protraction abilities exhibit different motor control strategies.
Evolutionary Specialization of the Tongue in Vertebrates: Structure and Function
This review summarizes and discusses many specializations of tongue form and function among tetrapods, finding that the tongue has become almost vestigial in a few species of anurans, turtles, and birds.
Tongue adhesion in the horned frog Ceratophrys sp.
Frogs are well-known to capture elusive prey with their protrusible and adhesive tongues. However, the adhesive performance of frog tongues and the mechanism of the contact formation with the prey
Comparative skull osteology of Karsenia koreana (Amphibia, Caudata, Plethodontidae)
The analysis of the anatomy of the new Asiatic lineage illuminates some potential mechanisms underlying adaptive morphological evolution within the Plethodontidae.


Visual Behavior in Salamanders
This book deals with vision and visually guided behavior in salamanders, with special emphasis on feeding behavior, and presents mechanisms and models of processing visual information within the salamander eye and brain, of object recognition, depth perception and sensory-motor interface problems in amphibians.