David Penning

David Penning
Missouri Southern State University | MSSU · Biology and Environmental Health

PhD in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology

About

14
Publications
7,767
Reads
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138
Citations
Introduction
Follow my labs current work at www.davidpenning.com. Instagram: @ThePenningLab; Twitter @ThePenningLab; Email: penning-d@mssu.edu. Please request permission to download PDFs in order to respect copyright laws.
Additional affiliations
August 2016 - present
Missouri Southern State University
Position
  • Principal Investigator
Description
  • We focus on the behavior, biomechanics, and functional morphology of reptiles.
August 2016 - present
Missouri Southern State University
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • I teach introductory biology courses, independent studies, internships, and general ecology.
August 2012 - August 2016
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Position
  • Fellow
Education
August 2012 - May 2016
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Field of study
  • Functional Morphology/Intraguild Predation
August 2010 - May 2012
University of Central Missouri
Field of study
  • Herpetology/Behavior
August 2008 - May 2010
University of Central Missouri
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (14)
Article
Full-text available
Snakes are important predators that have radiated throughout many ecosystems, and constriction was important in their radiation. Constrictors immobilize and kill prey by using body loops to exert pressure on their prey. Despite its importance, little is known about constriction performance or its full effects on prey. We studied the scaling of cons...
Article
Full-text available
To survive, organisms must avoid predation and acquire nutrients and energy. Sensory systems must correctly differentiate between potential predators and prey, and elicit behaviours that adjust distances accordingly. For snakes, strikes can serve both purposes. Vipers are thought to have the fastest strikes among snakes. However, strike performance...
Article
Full-text available
Across ecosystems and trophic levels, predators are usually larger than their prey, and when trophic morphology converges, predators typically avoid predation on intraguild competitors unless the prey is notably smaller in size. However, a currently unexplained exception occurs in kingsnakes in the genus Lampropeltis. Kingsnakes are able to capture...
Article
Full-text available
A snake's body represents an extreme degree of elongation with immense muscle complexity. Snakes have approximately 25 different muscles on each side of the body at each vertebra. These muscles serially repeat, overlap, interconnect, and rarely insert parallel to the vertebral column. The angled muscles mean that simple measurements of anatomical c...
Chapter
Snakes are a diverse group of squamate reptiles characterized by a unique feeding system and other traits associated with elongation and limblessness. Despite the description of transitional fossil forms, the evolution of the snake feeding system remains poorly understood, partly because only a few snakes have been studied thus far. The idea that t...
Article
In many organisms, juveniles have performance capabilities that partly offset their disadvantageous sizes. Using high-speed video recordings and imaging software, we measured the scaling of head morphology, axial morphology, and defensive strike performance of Pantherophis obsoletus across their ontogeny to understand how size and morphology affect...
Article
Full-text available
Constriction is an evolutionarily and functionally important behavior that many snakes use to subdue a variety of prey. However, little work has examined the effects of prey size on constriction performance. Furthermore, many snakes are known to feed even while previously consumed prey remain in the stomach. This temporary increase in mass may plac...
Poster
Full-text available
Many predators feed in microenvironments that may constrain their movements and obscure or block our observation and study. For example, constricting snakes probably often feed on mammals underground in tunnels, where space may be too limited for typical coiling and constriction. In tunnels, some snakes will press prey against the walls with part o...
Article
Full-text available
Across the diversity of vertebrates, bite force has been studied and suggested to have important ecological and evolutionary consequences. However, there is a notable lineage of vertebrates that use this performance trait yet are missing from the bite-force literature: the snakes. Snakes often rely on biting during prey subjugation and handling. Ma...
Article
Full-text available
We studied the effects of relative prey mass and experience on prey-handling behaviors of 16 ingestively naïve Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) feeding on different categorical sizes of live House Mice (Mus musculus) over 11 feeding trials. We randomly assigned hatchlings to two categories of prey mass, relative to snake mass (small = 20–40% and...
Article
Full-text available
Constriction is a prey-immobilization technique used by many snakes and is hypothesized to have been important to the evolution and diversification of snakes. However, very few studies have examined the factors that affect constriction performance. We investigated constriction performance in ball pythons (Python regius) by evaluating how peak const...
Article
Full-text available
The efficacy of two measurement techniques was evaluated in a laboratory setting for user variation and practicality. A total of 59 snakes (15 Lampropeltis getula floridana, 16 Pantherophis guttatus, 12 Epicrates cenchria maurus, and 16 Thamnophis sauritus) were measured using traditional soft-tape measurements paired with restraining tubes. The se...

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Project (1)