Foraging and defencive behaviour in snakes
Assistant professor (Hakubi Project)
I’m particularly interested in animal communication, cognition, and language evolution. I mainly conduct research in the wild and focus on vocal communication in birds of the family Paridae. https://sites.google.com/site/toshinsuzuki
I am interested in phylogeography in birds and bats using DNA contained in natural history museum specimens. https://researchmap.jp/norimasa_sugita
I have studied vocal communication systems of rodents using a diverse approach, such as ethology, ecology, neuroscience, and endocrinology. I am currently studying ultrasonic vocalizations in field mice and language-like communicative capacities in small passerines.
Social behavior in snakes
Generally, social behavior as territorial defense is widespread in lizards but not snakes. It was observed that territorial and waiting behavior of Dinodon semicarinatum foraging sea turtle egg or hatchling in Ryukyu Archipelago. I study this species to make clear social behavior in snakes.
Exploration of the factor how a transition from toad-eating to firefly eating occurred
The Asian snake Rhabdophis tigrinus possesses a specialized glands, “nuchal glands” on its neck that contain bufadienolides, the main component of toad skin toxin. They use the toxin for their defensive displays. There are also many Rhabdophis snakes all over Asia and a Rhabdophis snake, R. pentasupralabialis, is thought to feed fireflies and sequestrate the similar bufadienolides into their "nucho-dorsal glands". I want to investigate how the transition from toad-eating to firefly-eating occurred and how the snakes got to distinguish the toxic creatures containing bufadienolides. Also, I try to collect photos of R. tigrinus all over Japan to make the R. tigrinus body coloration diversity map.
Host-handling behavior and life history of Laelius yamatonis
Laelius yamatonis is an ectoparasite of Anthrenus verbasci larva. L. yamatonis oviposits on the surface of A. verbasci larva without being disturbed by hastisetae, spear-headed hair on the surface of A. verbasci larva, which are said to kill predators. Preceding studies on L. yamatonis are scarce, so I aim to reveal its host-handling behavioral pattern. Simultaneously, I study correspondence of the natural life history between L. yamatonis and A. verbasci and defensive effect of A. verbasci hastisetae against predators.
The Study of Nuchal Gland System of Indonesian Snake
The presence or absence of nuchal gland in some natricinae snakes that distributed in Indonesia were already identified. However, detail knowledge about the nuchal gland system from its morphology, chemical content to their related behaviors were still unknown. Beside nuchal gland identification, our preliminary study showed that distribution of R. chrysargoides, R. callistus, R. chrysargos and R. akraios were still doubted and their phylogeny information has not been established yet. Therefore, phylogenetic position of all species is also essential to be discovered. These problems showed that it is critical to conduct a detailed investigation of Indonesian natricine snake species, which have the most southern distribution among the snakes that have the nuchal glands so that their unique defensive system and evolutionary mechanism could be well understood.
Prey recognition of frogs
It is said that frogs detect their prey by visual cues. Movement of prey is especially considered to be important. However, I think that frogs may use other cues such as olfactory cues and auditary cues. I am going to study what cues frogs use to detect prey.
Evolution of the venom of Pit Vipers
The evolution of venom in venomous animals has been shown to be driven primarily by adaptation to diet and coevolution with prey resistance. On the other hand, little is known about how abiotic factors such as temperature affect venom evolution. To elucidate the mechanisms of venom evolution driven by temperature conditions, I am studying the effects of temperature on venom injection behavior and geographic variation of venom toxicity in the Japanese pit viper.
Frugivory and Seed Dispersal by Lizards in a Tropical Dry Forest in Madagascar
Most lizards are insectivores, but some species also eat fruits. In some ecosystems which lack frugivore animals, lizards potentially have an important role as seed dispersers of trees. However, lizards have been overlooked as a seed disperser in most endozoochory studies and little is known about the role of lizards in tropical forests. To reveal the role of lizards in a tropical forest ecosystem, I study frugivory of lizards and chameleons in a Malagasy tropical dry forest.https://sites.google.com/view/ryobufukuyama
Antipredator behavior and symbiotic relationship of the spine-cheek goby (Oplopomus oplopomus)/Foraging ecology of sea snakes
The spine-cheek goby is a small benthic fish which is found on soft substrate in coastal seas, and utilizes crustacean burrows as refuge. I aim to investigate the goby’s antipredator responses against different types of predators, in relation to its interactions with its crustacean host. I have also been working on the foraging ecology of sea snakes, which is one of the major predators of the spine-cheek goby, using methods such as stable isotope analysis and field observations.
Ecological differences in two Rana tagoi taxa
Two different Rana tagoi taxa in northern Kinki and other areas is reported, which are sexually isolated. There is character displacement when these two inhibit sympatrically: body size, size of webs and spots on legs. I am going to do research on differences in habitat microenvironment and food resource to know what resources cause character displacement.
When preying on prey that is underwater from land, it can be difficult to determine the exact location of the prey due to the effects of light refraction. Vibakari, which live near water, are known to underwater prey, and I study in both field and laboratory experiments how they solve such problems.
The effect of territory on reproductive success of Eurasian wren
Eurasian wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) breed along mountain streams and are polygamous, which is a minor style of breeding among birds. I study the basic ecology of Eurasian wrens and how the quality of territories they form in the non-breeding season influences their reproductive success.
Adaptive significance of ants eating in Japanese wrinkled frog
It was reported that Japanese wrinkled frog Glandirana rugosa prominently eats ants. I study the prey selection and the adaptive significance of myrmecophagy in R. rugosa. In addition, I'm going to study on the way to prey identification method behind the prey selection.
Search for foraging behaviors and morphological characteristics of earthworms-eating snakes (Cyclophiops semicarinatus)
Food habits of snakes are devided into two types: "Generalist" and "Specialist".Some studies clarified morphologies and behaviors adapted to the specific prey species in specialist. Cyclophiops semicarinatus is known as an earthworm-eating snake living in Ryukyu Archipelago. I'm going to study morphologies and foraging behaviors of this species.
Study of seasonal change of habitat use by Genus Plestiodon
For Lizards as Ectotherms, thermal environments are important. It is known that change of thermal environments alters habitat use by lizards, but seasonal changes of habitat uses by Lizards in a temperate zone where occur seasonal temperature change have merely been studied. I have studied a relationship between habitat use by lizards and factors which include temperature.
The study of antipredator behavior of Hynobius in Japan
Hynobius in Japan show specific antipredator behavior like tail elevation and skin secretion. I verify the significance and effect to predators of these behavior from bahevioral points of view.
Ontogenetic niche shifts in the diet of snakes
Ontogenetic Niche Shift / ONS is an ecological phenomenon in which an animal changes its habitat or diet during its ontogeny. I'm studying such cases of snakes from behavioral experiments using juveniles and adults.
Coloration of centipedes and their auditory perception
I'm interested in effects of animal coloration on their perceptual system. In particular, my research interests are in a evolutionary relationship between a variety of coloration of centipedes (Chilopoda) and their auditory perception.