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Dear Kitty
Thursday, May 12, 2005
  New research on flying snakes in Asia
Chrysopelea paradisi

Researchers reveal secrets of flying snakes

It seems size does matters after all. But for flying snakes, smaller is better, according to University of Chicago researchers.

In the May 15, 2005, issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, scientists described the effects of size and behavior of flying snakes, and found that the smaller animals were better gliders.

"Despite their lack of wing-like appendages, flying snakes are skilled aerial locomotors," said lead scientist and author Jake Socha, Ph.D., who has been studying these unique creatures for the past eight years.

With the help of colleagues Michael LaBarbera, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at Chicago, and Tony O'Dempsey, an expert in photogrammetry, Socha used 3-D flight information from the synchronized recordings of two video cameras to digitally reconstruct the trajectories, speed and body postures of Chrysopelea paradisi, or paradise tree snake, and Chrysopelea ornata, golden tree snake.

Chrysopelea ornataIn this study, Socha, who also is a biologist at Argonne National Laboratory, found that paradise tree snakes are true gliders, traveling further horizontally than dropping vertically.

The best flight Socha recorded traveled 13 degrees from the horizon at the end of its trajectory.

Read more here.

See also here.

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