Evol Ecol Res 9: 527-546 (2007) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Master of them all: performance specialization does not result in trade-offs in tropical lizards
Brett A. Goodman,1* Andrew K. Krockenberger2 and Lin Schwarzkopf1
1School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811 and 2School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD 4878, Australia
Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Question: Does performance specialization lead to trade-offs among contrasting performance types?
Predictions: Evolutionary specialization for good performance at one task should result in relatively poor performance at contrasting tasks. We predicted that species with good sprinting ability would be relatively poor at the contrasting performance tasks of climbing, clinging, and jumping.
Organisms: Eighteen species of Lygosomine skinks from a diverse range of habitats in tropical Australia.
Methods: We measured four ecologically relevant modes of performance (sprinting, climbing, clinging, and jumping) and relevant morphological traits (e.g. body size, fore- and hind-limb length, body flatness).
Results: Contrary to predictions, phylogenetic analyses revealed a tight positive correlation between sprinting and climbing ability, climbing and clinging ability, and climbing and jumping. Sprinting, climbing, clinging, and jumping are presumably sufficiently similar tasks for scincid lizards for no trade-offs to be observed. There was no evidence that a flat body enhanced climbing in our study, but it may be related to energy efficiency in species from habitats that climb frequently on vertical surfaces.
Conclusions: The absence of trade-offs among performance traits, the converse to what has been observed for arboreal lizards (e.g. Anolis), suggests that such trade-offs are not general for lizards from all habitats or groups.
Keywords: ecomorphology, habitat specialization, performance, skinks, trade-offs.
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