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Although of prime ecological relevance, acceleration capacity is a poorly understood locomotor performance trait in terrestrial vertebrates. No empirical data exist on which design characteristics determine acceleration capacity among species and whether these design traits influence other aspects of locomotor performance. In this study we explore how(More)
A key assumption in evolutionary studies of locomotor adaptation is that standard laboratory measures of performance accurately reflect what animals do under natural circumstances. One widely examined measure of performance is maximum sprint speed, which is believed to be important for eluding predators, capturing prey, and defending territories. Previous(More)
We investigated how substrate diameter affects acceleration performance in three Anolis lizard species (A. sagrei, A. carolinensis and A. valencienni), representing three different ecomorphs (trunk-ground, trunk-crown, and twig, respectively). We did so by measuring maximal acceleration capacity of the three species on a broad and narrow dowel. In addition(More)
The evolution of alternative male phenotypes is probably driven by male-male competition for access to reproductive females, but few studies have examined whether whole-organism performance capacities differ between male morphs, and if so whether any such differences affect fighting ability. We show how ontogenetic changes in performance and morphology have(More)
Although rapid adaptive changes in morphology on ecological time scales are now well documented in natural populations, the effects of such changes on whole-organism performance capacity and the consequences on ecological dynamics at the population level are often unclear. Here we show how lizards have rapidly evolved differences in head morphology, bite(More)
We quantified four gait characteristics (stride length, stride frequency, step length and floating distance) over a range of running speeds in 11 lacertid lizard species known to vary in maximal sprint speed and microhabitat use. For each species, we measured snout-vent length (SVL), body mass and hindlimb length. We tested which variables determine sprint(More)
Despite repeated acquisitions of aquatic or semi-aquatic lifestyles revolving around piscivory, snakes have not evolved suction feeding. Instead, snakes use frontally or laterally directed strikes to capture prey under water. If the aquatic medium constrains strike performance because of its physical properties, we predict morphological and functional(More)
Physical performance by vertebrates is thought to be constrained by trade-offs between antagonistic pairs of ecologically relevant traits and between conflicting specialist and generalist phenotypes, but there is surprisingly little evidence to support this reasoning. Here we analyse the performance of world-class athletes in standardized decathlon events(More)
Feeding specializations such as herbivory are an often cited example of convergent and adaptive evolution. However, some groups such as lizards appear constrained in the evolution of morphological specializations associated with specialized diets. Here we examine whether the inclusion of plant matter into the diet of omnivorous lacertid lizards has resulted(More)
1 Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; 2 Department of Biology, 221 Morrill Science Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA; 3 Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen, Belgium; and 4 Department of Biology, Redpath Museum, McGill(More)