We measured the performance (burst speed and endurance) and the energetic cost of sidewinding locomotion for the viperid snake Crotalus cerastes. The linear scaling regressions relating log mass to log burst speed and log endurance have slopes of 0.29 and 1.01, respectively. Maximal burst speed observed for an individual snake (SVL=41.9cm, SVL is snout-vent length) was3.7kmh−1. Adult snakes were able to match a tread speed of 0.5 km h−1 for times ranging from 33 to more than 180 min, and at 0.7kmh−1 endurance times ranged from 9 to 52 min. Rates of oxygen consumption increased linearly over a range of aerobically sustainable speeds (0.28–0.50kmh−1), with a resulting net cost of transport (NCT) of 0.408mlO2g−1km−1 for eight snakes with a mean mass of 110g. Sidewinding of C.cerastes involves periodic movements with a frequency that increases linearly with mean forward speed. At 0.50 km h−1, the mean (N=8) mass-specific energetic cost per cycle of movement was 0.28 JulO2g−1 cycle−1 for sidewinding. The NCT and the cost per cycle of movement of C. cerastes sidewinding are significantly less than those of similar mass snakes (Coluber constrictor) performing either terrestrial lateral undulation or concertina locomotion. The NCT of C. cerastes sidewinding is also significantly less than that predicted for the terrestrial limbed locomotion of lizards of similar mass. Mean VOO2max of C. cerastes (0.405 ml O2g−1h−1) is only about half that reported for C. constrictor; however, the mean endurance at 0.60 km h−1 (73 min) for sidewinding C. cerastes does not differ significantly from that reported for C. constrictor laterally undulating.
LOCOMOTOR PERFORMANCE AND ENERGETIC COST OF SIDEWINDING BY THE SNAKE CROTALUS CERASTES
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STEPHEN M. SECOR, BRUCE C. JAYNE, ALBERT F. BENNETT; LOCOMOTOR PERFORMANCE AND ENERGETIC COST OF SIDEWINDING BY THE SNAKE CROTALUS CERASTES. J Exp Biol 1 February 1992; 163 (1): 1–14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.163.1.1
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