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Type: Journal article
Title: Gravity and the evolution of cardiopulmonary morphology in snakes
Author: Lillywhite, H.
Albert, J.
Sheehy, C.
Seymour, R.
Citation: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A-Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 2012; 161(2):230-242
Publisher: Elsevier Science Inc
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1095-6433
Statement of
Harvey B. Lillywhite, James S. Albert, Coleman M. Sheehy, Roger S. Seymour
Abstract: Physiological investigations of snakes have established the importance of heart position and pulmonary structure in contexts of gravity effects on blood circulation. Here we investigate morphological correlates of cardiopulmonary physiology in contexts related to ecology, behavior and evolution. We analyze data for heart position and length of vascular lung in 154 species of snakes that exhibit a broad range of characteristic behaviors and habitat associations. We construct a composite phylogeny for these species, and we codify gravitational stress according to species habitat and behavior. We use conventional regression and phylogenetically independent contrasts to evaluate whether trait diversity is correlated with gravitational habitat related to evolutionary transitions within the composite tree topology. We demonstrate that snake species living in arboreal habitats, or which express strongly climbing behaviors, possess relatively short blood columns between the heart and the head, as well as relatively short vascular lungs, compared to terrestrial species. Aquatic species, which experience little or no gravity stress in water, show the reverse — significantly longer heart–head distance and longer vascular lungs. These phylogenetic differences complement the results of physiological studies and are reflected in multiple habitat transitions during the evolutionary histories of these snake lineages, providing strong evidence that heart-to-head distance and length of vascular lung are co-adaptive cardiopulmonary features of snakes.
Keywords: Heart; Lung; Circulation; Gravity; Snakes
Rights: Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0020116385
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2011.10.029
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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