Document Detail

Gastrointestinal responses to feeding in a frequently feeding colubrid snake (Natrix maura).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18440261     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Ectotherm vertebrates show physiological mechanisms that reduce metabolic costs during prolonged fasting. Once feeding, these animals adopt a wide variety of metabolic responses such as changes in gastrointestinal organ masses. Up-regulatory responses after feeding have been widely explored in infrequently feeding snakes like pythons, whereas few studies have been devoted to frequently feeding snakes. In this study, we have considered the gastrointestinal responses after feeding in a frequent feeder, the viperine snake Natrix maura, in the Ebro Delta rice fields. In this habitat, viperine snakes are exposed to long periods of food deprivation due to the lack of available prey as a consequence of the man-induced rice cycle. We weighed prey items and full gut masses, and measured length of combined esophagus and stomach, and intestine of viperine snakes belonging to a wide range of sizes. Snakes concentrate foraging activity when rice fields were flooded. In this period, gut masses increased. Likewise, intestines increased in length during the feeding period, which suggests that viperine snakes probably experience a postfeeding hypertrophy of their small intestines that contributes to their larger length. Once the intestine length was corrected for the snake size, it was shown that adults present longer intestines than immature snakes, reflecting an increase in the posterior part of the body linked to the gonads development. This study contributes to explore the physiological responses to feeding in frequently feeding snakes modelled by abrupt shifts of food availability.
Xavier Santos; Gustavo A Llorente
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-03-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology     Volume:  150     ISSN:  1531-4332     ISO Abbreviation:  Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2008 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-05-05     Completed Date:  2008-05-16     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9806096     Medline TA:  Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  75-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Parc Natural de Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac, Oficina Tècnica de Parcs Naturals, Diputació de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
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MeSH Terms
Body Size
Colubridae / anatomy & histology,  physiology*
Feeding Behavior / physiology*
Gastrointestinal Tract / anatomy & histology,  physiology*
Organ Size
Oryza sativa

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