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Erschienen in: Brain Structure and Function 7/2021

21.07.2021 | Original Article

Inside the head of snakes: influence of size, phylogeny, and sensory ecology on endocranium morphology

verfasst von: Marion Segall, Raphaël Cornette, Arne R. Rasmussen, Christopher J. Raxworthy

Erschienen in: Brain Structure and Function | Ausgabe 7/2021

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Abstract

Environmental properties, and the behavioral habits of species impact sensory cues available for foraging, predator avoidance and inter/intraspecific communication. Consequently, relationships have been discovered between the sensory ecology and brain morphology in many groups of vertebrates. However, these types of studies have remained scare on snake. Here, we investigate the link between endocranial shape and the sensory-related ecology of snakes by comparing 36 species of snakes for which we gathered six sensory-ecology characteristics. We use µCT scanning and 3D geometric morphometrics to compare their endocranium in a phylogenetically informed context. Our results demonstrate that size is a major driver of endocranial shape, with smaller species tending to maximize endocranial volume using a more bulbous shape, while larger species share an elongate endocranial morphology. Phylogeny plays a secondary role with more derived snakes diverging the most in endocranial shape, compared to other species. The activity period influences the shape of the olfactory and optic tract, while the foraging habitat impacts the shape of the cerebellum and cranial nerve regions: structures involved in orientation, equilibrium, and sensory information. However, we found that endocranial morphology alone is not sufficient to predict the activity period of a species without prior knowledge of its phylogenetic relationship. Our results thus demonstrate the value of utilizing endocranial shape as complementary information to size and volume in neurobiological studies.
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Metadaten
Titel
Inside the head of snakes: influence of size, phylogeny, and sensory ecology on endocranium morphology
verfasst von
Marion Segall
Raphaël Cornette
Arne R. Rasmussen
Christopher J. Raxworthy
Publikationsdatum
21.07.2021
Verlag
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Erschienen in
Brain Structure and Function / Ausgabe 7/2021
Print ISSN: 1863-2653
Elektronische ISSN: 1863-2661
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-021-02340-6