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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)
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 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)
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)
Chameleons are highly specialized and mostly arboreal lizards characterized by a suite of derived characters. The grasping feet and tail are thought to be related to the arboreal lifestyle of chameleons, yet specializations for grasping are thought to exhibit a trade-off with running ability. Indeed, previous studies have demonstrated a trade-off between(More)
Traditionally, it has been suggested that variation in locomotor mode should be correlated with variation in the anatomy of the structures responsible for locomotion. Indeed, organisms can expand their ecological niche by using specialized traits of the locomotor system including hooks, claws, adhesive pads, etc. Despite the fact that claws are the most(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)
Trade-offs arise when two functional traits impose conflicting demands on the same design trait. Consequently, excellence in one comes at the cost of performance in the other. One of the most widely studied performance trade-offs is the one between sprint speed and endurance. Although biochemical, physiological and (bio)mechanical correlates of either(More)
Morphological and physiological considerations suggest that sprinting ability and endurance capacity put conflicting demands on the design of an animal's locomotor apparatus and therefore cannot be maximized simultaneously. To test this hypothesis, we correlated size-corrected maximal sprint speed and stamina of 12 species of lacertid lizards.(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)