IMAGES: Tongue Tricks

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Science  13 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5588, pp. 1775
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5588.1775c

Woe betide the fly that comes within range of the Sardinian salamander Hydromantes supramontis. The slimy marksman can fire its sticky-tipped tongue more than 6 cm, nearly the length of its body. Watch more salamander feeding feats at this movie site from functional morphologist Stephen Deban of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. A dozen clips, shot with high-speed cameras at up to 1000 frames per second, undercuts the animals' reputation as placid plodders. Sure-shot salamanders such as Hydromantes can fully extend their tongue and pick off an unwary insect within 20 milliseconds. Other species forgo such precision. The hellbender, a wrinkly stream-dweller from the eastern United States, vacuums up anything in the vicinity by rapidly sucking water into its mouth.∼deban/feedingmovieindex.html

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