Phylogenetic analysis of standard metabolic rate of snakes: a new proposal for the understanding of interspecific variation in feeding behavior
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The current proposal about the variation of standard metabolic rates (SMR) in snakes predicts that SMR is influenced by the feeding frequency (frequent or infrequent feeders). However, feeding frequency in snakes is poorly studied and hard to quantify under natural conditions. Alternatively, foraging strategy was studied for a large number of species and is usually related to the feeding frequency. In this work, we performed a meta-analysis on the SMR of compiled data from 74 species of snakes obtained from the literature and five more different species of lanceheads (genus Bothrops), after categorization according to the foraging mode (ambush or active foraging) and regarding their phylogenetic history. We tested the hypothesis that foraging mode (FM) is a determinant factor on the interspecific variation of SMR despite the phylogenetic relationship among species. We demonstrated that FM predicted SMR, but there is also a partial phylogenetic structuration of SMR in snakes. We also detected that evolution rates of SMR in active foragers seem to be higher than ambush-hunting snakes. We suggested that foraging mode has a major effect over the evolution of SMR in snakes, which could represent an ecophysiological co-adaptation, since ambush hunters (with low feeding rates) present a lower maintenance energetic cost (SMR) when compared to active foragers. The higher SMR evolution rates for active foraging snakes could be related to a higher heterogeny in the degree of activity during hunting by active foragers when compared to ambush-hunting snakes.
Stuginski DR, Navas CA, de Barros FC, Camacho A, Pereira Wilken Bicudo JE, Grego KF, et al. Phylogenetic analysis of standard metabolic rate of snakes: a new proposal for the understanding of interspecific variation in feeding behavior. J. Comp. Physiol. B-Biochem. Syst. Environ. Physiol.. 2018 Mar:188(2):315-23. doi:10.1007/s00360-017-1128-z.
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