Tongue action?


New Member
I'm aware of how the chameleon tongue works - it grasps the prey - but is there also an element of stickiness? If so, what causes this?

I've noticed that my cham is having difficulty keeping hold of prey that hes shot at from a distance - he manages to get a hold of it (unless its a worm holding on pretty tight - damn butterworms!) but then sometimes (again, tends to be butterworms) drops it before it gets to his awaiting mouth.

Any ideas?
There is a bit of stickiness to the tongue...but some things don't stick to it well regardless. You will find that in the case of veileds, for instance that they have to walk up to things like greens and veggies sometimes and actually pick them up like other (non-chameleon) lizards do.
my chams do the same..the toungue is actually sticky ( and the lizards saliva counter reacts that when its in the mouth) but even dusted crickets can be slippery, and ive noticed any worms in that saw bed stuff tend to be less sticky..hornworms for instance are almost like our skin..its an instant stick everytime..
Prehension of prey items by the tongue occurs via a combination of three forces. First, there is mechanical interlocking of the prey as the tongue pad envelopes around the prey item. Second, there is wet adhesion as the mucosal secretion from the tongue contacts the prey item. Finally, there is a suction component as the pouch retractor muscle pulls the center of the tongue pad away from the prey item (if you put a suction cup against a window and pull the center, where there is often a handle of some type, away from the window you similarly get a section effect due to the negative pressure). Interestingly, over two thirds of the force the tongue produces to hold onto a prey item is actually the result of the suction mechanism. Not only does the pouch retractor muscle create negative pressure, but it causes further interaction between the tongue pad and prey item, thus increasing both of the first two prehension mechanisms I outlined.

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