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How the Tentacled Snake Captures Prey [Video]




Kenneth C. Catania

The tentacled snake may be the strangest serpent you've never heard of. So named for the distinctive appendages that project from its snout, this snake dwells in rivers and lakes in Southeast Asia, where it feeds on fish. Scientists have long pondered the purpose of those peculiar tentacles. Neurobiologist Kenneth C. Catania of Vanderbilt University decided to investigate. In so doing he discovered that the snake uses surprisingly sophisticated tactics to catch fish, which he describes in an article in the April issue of Scientific American. Watch the snakes in action in the video below—and see how they exploit neural circuitry in the fish that usually help the fish avoid predation. What about tentacles? The video answers that question, too.

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