Belgachia salamanders learned with lightning speed to throw language at catching prey due to several changes in the structure of this organ, which arose several times in different taxonomic groups, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They concern the relations of the muscles of the tongue and its skeletal elements, form these elements, and arrangement of connective tissue between the muscles. As a result, these cold-blooded animals have added to their Arsenal of extremely rapid movement, whose efficiency falls at low ambient temperature.
Members of the family beshegoch salamanders (Plethodontidae) differ from many other amphibians, the fact that they have no lungs (they breathe so only the skin and oral mucosa) and there is no larval stage. Like other amphibians, they are not able to maintain constant body temperature: it is at Beshagach salamanders depends on the environment. On the one hand, it “allows” them to have a slow metabolism. On the other hand, when fishing mining their language far shoots with great speed, usually not typical of animals with a low basal metabolic rate.
It is known that the rapidity of language beshegoch salamanders ensures that it moves with an elastic rebound, as a bow or spring, not by a “classical” contraction-relaxation of muscle fibers. In the work, in addition to the muscles of the language are involved the surrounding connective tissue. However, the evolutionary changes that have occurred during the formation of such a system of these amphibians were not studied.
Therefore, biologists from the University of South Florida and the University of California at Stanislaus, headed by Stephen Debnam (Stephen Deban) analyzed data from the recording of the electrical activity of the muscles of the tongue and video of individuals of nine different species of salamanders (apart from the family beshegoch) throw language. The researchers determined the speed of the movements of this body at different temperatures, and compared the internal structure of Salamander with different ejector mechanism of the language. Zoologists considered the systematic position of each of the types of data that they considered.