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    Some species of durophagous moray eels (Muraenidae) have been documented emerging from the marine environment to capture intertidal crabs but how they consume prey out of water is unknown. Here, we trained snowflake morays, Echidna nebulosa, to undulate out of the aquatic environment to feed on land. On land, snowflake morays remove prey from the substrate by biting and swallow prey using pharyngeal jaw enabled transport. Although snowflake morays exhibit smaller jaw rotation angles on land when apprehending their prey, transport kinematics involving dorsoventral flexion of the head to protract the pharyngeal jaws and overall feeding times did not differ between terrestrial and aquatic treatments. We suggest that their elongate body plan, ability to rotate their heads in the dorsoventral and lateral directions, and extreme pharyngeal movements all contribute to the ability of durophagous morays to feed in the terrestrial environment. © 2021. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


    Rita S Mehta, Kyle R Donohoe. Snowflake morays, Echidna nebulosa, exhibit similar feeding kinematics in terrestrial and aquatic treatments. The Journal of experimental biology. 2021 Jun 01;224(11)

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    PMID: 34109983

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