Energetic and physiological correlates of prey handling and ingestion in lizards and snakes
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In this review, we summarize the energetic and physiological correlates of prey handling and ingestion in lizards and snakes. There were marked differences in the magnitude of aerobic metabolism during prey handling and ingestion between these two groups, although they show a similar pattern of variation as a function of relative prey mass. For lizards, the magnitude of aerobic metabolism during prey handling and ingestion also varied as a function of morphological specializations for a particular habitat, prey type, and behavior. For snakes, interspecific differences in aerobic metabolism during prey handling seem to be correlated with adaptations for prey capture (venom injection vs. constriction). During ingestion by snakes, differences in aerobic metabolism might be due to differences in cranial morphology, although allometric effects might be a potentially confounded effect. Anaerobic metabolism is used for prey handling and ingestion, but its relative contribution to total ATP production seems to be more pronounced in snakes than in lizards. The energetic costs of prey handling and ingestion are trivial for both groups and cannot be used to predict patterns of prey-size selection. For lizards, it seems that morphological and ecological factors set the constraints on prey handling and ingestion. For snakes, besides these two factors, the capacity of the cardio-respiratory system may also be an important factor constraining the capacity for prey handling and ingestion. © 2001 Elsevier B.V.