Next Article in Journal
How Glutamate Is Managed by the Blood–Brain Barrier
Previous Article in Journal
Giraffe Stature and Neck Elongation: Vigilance as an Evolutionary Mechanism
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

How Doth the Little Crocodilian: Analyzing the Influence of Environmental Viscosity on Feeding Performance of Juvenile Alligator mississippiensis

Department of Biology, Union University, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson, TN 38305, USA
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, 5476 Grand Chenier Hwy, Grand Chenier, LA 76043, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chris O’Callaghan
Biology 2016, 5(4), 36;
Received: 2 September 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 28 September 2016 / Published: 30 September 2016
PDF [616 KB, uploaded 8 October 2016]


Wetland habitats are used as nursery sites for hatchling and juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), where they utilize prey from aquatic and terrestrial settings. However, little is known about how viscosity of the medium influences feeding performance. We hypothesized that timing and linear excursion feeding kinematic variables would be different for individuals feeding on prey above the water compared with the same individuals feeding underwater. Individuals were fed immobile fish prey and feeding events were recorded using a high speed video camera. Feeding performance was summarized by analyzing three feeding kinematic variables (maximum gape, maximum gape velocity, duration of feeding bout) and success of strike. Results of a series of paired t-tests indicated no significant difference in kinematic variables between feeding events above water compared with underwater. Similarity in feeding performance could indicate that prey-capture is not altered by environmental viscosity or that feeding behavior can mitigate its influence. Behavioral differences were observed during feeding events with alligators approaching underwater prey having their mouths partially opened versus fully closed when feeding above water. This behavior could be an indication of a strategy used to overcome water viscosity. View Full-Text
Keywords: feeding kinematics; habitat variation; prey capture feeding kinematics; habitat variation; prey capture

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Kerfoot, J.R.; Easter, E.; Elsey, R.M. How Doth the Little Crocodilian: Analyzing the Influence of Environmental Viscosity on Feeding Performance of Juvenile Alligator mississippiensis. Biology 2016, 5, 36.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Biology EISSN 2079-7737 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top