Divergent morphologies, performance, and escape behaviour in two tropical rock-using lizards (Reptilia: Scincidae)

Goodman, Brett A. (2007) Divergent morphologies, performance, and escape behaviour in two tropical rock-using lizards (Reptilia: Scincidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 91 (1). pp. 85-98.

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The present study quantified microhabitat use, morphology, performance (sprinting, climbing, clinging, and jumping), and escape behaviour of two closely related tropical rock-using lizards. Specifically, the study tested whether: (1) a flatter body and longer limbs enhance performance in rocky habitats; (2) escape behaviour supports predictions based on habitat openness; and (3) there is a trade-off between sprinting and climbing performance. Despite the occupation of generally similar rocky habitats, the habitat of Carlia scirtetis was more open and composed of larger boulders with more regular surfaces, whereas the habitat of Carlia mundivensis was composed of more undergrowth and leaf litter, consisting of smaller boulders with irregular surfaces. The longer legs, flatter body, and greater sprinting and climbing ability of C. scirtetis, supports ecomorphological predictions. By contrast to predictions based on habitat openness, C. scirtetis allowed a potential threat to approach closer and ran further to a refuge than C. mundivensis, suggesting that escape behaviour as determined by performance may be species-specific or decoupled in these two species. The increased sprint speed of C. scirtetis highlighted a performance trade-off, with climbing speed lagging behind that of sprint speed. These results suggest that subtle differences in the structural microhabitat and the degree of habitat openness may ultimately result in substantial differences in morphology, performance, and threat behaviour in closely-related lizard species.

Item ID: 2170
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8312
Keywords: body flattening; Carlia; habitat specificity; locomotion; saxicolous
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Date Deposited: 28 May 2009 00:44
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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