, Volume 184, Issue 5, pp 501-518

Modulatory complexity of the feeding repertoire in scincid lizards

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The kinematics of jaws and tongue, and jaw muscle activity patterns were investigated in the omnivorous lizard Tiliqua rugosa, and the herbivorous Corucia zebrata (Scincidae) during feeding. Small metal markers were inserted into different parts of the skull, the jaws, and the tongue. Video and cineradiographic images were digitized and displacements of the head, jaws, and tongue were quantified. Additionally, muscle activity patterns were recorded, digitized and several variables were determined quantitatively. The effect of food type on the jaw and hyolingual movement patterns and the jaw muscle activity patterns was investigated for both species. The kinematic data indicate that distinct aspects of gape and tongue cycles are modulated in response to the food characteristics. Similarly, in both species, muscle activity patterns are altered in response to the type of food eaten. A comparison of kinematic and electromyographic patterns during intraoral transport cycles for both species shows that these can be related to food characteristics such as toughness and mobility. Differences between both species in the response to changes in food characteristics are minor. Clearly both species are able to fine tune the activation of the jaw muscles, resulting in the appropriate movement patterns for the type of food eaten.