A Mechanism for Eye and Pit Protection During a Strike?

Werman, Steven D. Department of Biology

Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA swerman@coloradomesa.edu

There is evidence that the facial pit and eye are protected by skin and scales during predatory strikes in Bushmasters (Lachesis spp.) and Jumping Vipers (Atropoides spp.). In this study I investigated a possible mechanism for this event based on the presence of a postorbital-maxillary ligament found in these taxa. The formal description of this mechanism and the examination of additional pitviper taxa will be forthcoming. My initial hypothesis is that the postorbital-maxillary ligament may have more than one function in these snakes.

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