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Data from: The effects of temperature on the kinematics of rattlesnake predatory strikes in both captive and field environments

Citation

Whitford, Malachi; Freymiller, Grace; Higham, Timothy; Clark, Rulon (2021), Data from: The effects of temperature on the kinematics of rattlesnake predatory strikes in both captive and field environments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.25338/B8DP6C

Abstract

The outcomes of predator-prey interactions between endotherms and ectotherms can be heavily influenced by environmental temperature, owing to the difference in how body temperature affects locomotor performance. However, as elastic energy storage mechanisms can allow ectotherms to maintain high levels of performance at cooler body temperatures, detailed analyses of kinematics are necessary to fully understand how changes in temperature might alter endotherm-ectotherm predator-prey interactions. Viperid snakes are widely distributed ectothermic mesopredators that interact with endotherms both as predator and prey. Although there are numerous studies on the kinematics of viper strikes, surprisingly few have analyzed how this rapid movement is affected by temperature. Here we studied the effects of temperature on the predatory strike performance of rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.), abundant new world vipers, using both field and captive experimental contexts. We found that the effects of temperature on predatory strike performance are limited, with warmer snakes achieving slightly higher maximum strike acceleration, but similar maximum velocity. Our results suggest that, unlike defensive strikes to predators, rattlesnakes may not attempt to maximize strike speed when attacking prey, and thus the outcomes of predatory strikes may not be heavily influenced by changes in temperature.