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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Aquatic adaptations in a Neotropical coral snake: A study of morphological convergence

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Silva, Fernanda Magalhaes [1, 2] ; da Costa Prudente, Ana Lucia [1] ; Machado, Fabio Andrade [3, 4] ; Santos, Marina Meireles [1, 2] ; Zaher, Hussam [5] ; Hingst-Zaher, Erika [6]
Total Authors: 6
[1] Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belem, Para - Brazil
[2] Univ Fed Para, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Programa Posgrad Zool, Belem, Para - Brazil
[3] Museo Argentino Ciencias Nat Bernardino Rivadavia, Buenos Aires, DF - Argentina
[4] Consejo Nacl Invest Cient & Tecn, Buenos Aires, DF - Argentina
[5] Univ Sao Paulo, Museu Zool, Sao Paulo, SP - Brazil
[6] Museu Biol, Inst Butantan, Sao Paulo, SP - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 6
Document type: Journal article
Web of Science Citations: 5

Micrurus surinamensis is an aquatic member of the genus Micrurus. This species is known for its highly specialized venom and distinctive diet, mostly made of aquatic vertebrates. Here, we explore both external (head and body) and skull shape morphologies in M.surinamensis, comparing it with two terrestrial species of the genus (M.lemniscatus and M.spixii) and to aquatic and terrestrial species of distantly related groups. We use both traditional and geometric morphometrics to determine whether the presence of similar traits in head shape morphology is rather the result of adaptive convergences between M.surinamensis and other aquatic species, or whether it is the product of phylogenetic conservatism within the genus. Results from both traditional and geometric morphometrics show that M.surinamensis can be considered convergent with aquatic species, mainly in the skull shape. Micrurus surinamensis differs from the two terrestrial species of Micrurus by having a wider head, smaller distance between nostrils, and a long tail. Geometric morphometric analysis shows that despite having an extremely conserved skull and mandible shape, M.surinamensis shows a longer supratemporal and quadrate bones than in terrestrial Micrurus, indicating a larger gape for this species. A more kinetic skull combined with a larger gape would allow M.surinamensis to feed on fish, which represent larger and wider prey that contrast with the elongate prey, which compose the main diet of species in the genus Micrurus. Our results illustrate the importance of both phylogenetic conservatism and adaptation in shaping species morphology. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/21674-4 - Evolutionary consequences of morphological integration in the skull and mandible of Caniformia (Carnivora; Mammalia)
Grantee:Fábio de Andrade Machado
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 16/50127-5 - Dimensions US-BIOTA São Paulo: scales of biodiversity: integrated studies of snake venom evolution and function across multiple levels of diversity
Grantee:Inácio de Loiola Meirelles Junqueira de Azevedo
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants
FAPESP's process: 11/50206-9 - Origin and evolution of snakes and their diversification in the Neotropics: a multidisciplinary approach
Grantee:Hussam El Dine Zaher
Support type: BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants