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      Hindlimb abnormality reduces locomotor performance in Pelobates cultripes metamorphs but is not predicted by larval morphometrics

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      Herpetozoa

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Locomotor performance is a fundamental feature commonly related to many animals’ fitness. In most cases, locomotor performance is closely related to morphology of the structures responsible for it, which is therefore under strong selective pressure. Hence, limb abnormality could hinder locomotion and, for that reason, be eradicated by selection, which could explain its overall low prevalence that makes proper research difficult. Here, we took advantage of the moderately high prevalence of hindlimb abnormality in a sample of Iberian spadefoot (Pelobates cultripes) metamorphs developed from tadpoles captured and transferred to the laboratory before selection could act against metamorph abnormality. We tested the hypothesis that limb abnormality impairs locomotor performance. Moreover, we measured several larval and metamorph morphometrics, and checked for differences between normal and abnormal-limbed individuals. We also assessed correlations between hindlimb ratio (hindlimb length/SVL) and jumping performance in normal and abnormal-limbed metamorphs. Larval traits measured could not predict hindlimb abnormality. In metamorphs, only hindlimb ratio differed between normal and abnormal-limbed individuals, being shorter in the latter. Abnormal-limbed metamorphs jumped considerably shorter distances than normal-limbed conspecifics. Therefore, selection against reduced locomotor performance could eliminate limb abnormality from populations. Hindlimb ratio was included in the model as a covariable, and thus controlled for. Consequently, other factors besides shorter hindlimbs, probably hindlimb abnormality itself, could play a role in worse jumping capability of abnormal-limbed individuals. Hindlimb ratio was positively related to jumping distance in both groups, although the relationship was weaker in abnormal-limbed metamorphs.

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          New perspectives for estimating body condition from mass/length data: the scaled mass index as an alternative method

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            Integrating Function and Ecology in Studies of Adaptation: Investigations of Locomotor Capacity as a Model System

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              Faster lizards sire more offspring: sexual selection on whole-animal performance.

              Sexual selection operates by acting on variation in mating success. However, since selection acts on whole-organism manifestations (i.e., performance) of underlying morphological traits, tests for phenotypic effects of sexual selection should consider whole-animal performance as a substrate for sexual selection. Previous studies have revealed positive relationships between performance and survival, that is, natural selection, but none have explicitly tested whether performance may influence reproductive success (through more matings), that is, sexual selection. Performance predicts dominance in some species, implying the effects of sexual selection, but how it does so has not been established, nor is it certain whether performance might be a by-product of selection for something else, for example, elevated circulating testosterone levels. We investigated the potential for sexual selection on sprint speed performance in collared lizards (Crotaphytus collaris), considering the potential mediating effects of circulating hormone levels. Among territorial, adult male collared lizards, only sprint speed significantly predicted territory area and number of offspring sired as determined by genetic paternity analysis. Body size, head size, and hind limb length had no effect. Neither plasma testosterone levels nor corticosterone levels correlated with sprint speed, territory area, or number of offspring sired. Thus, our results provide a direct link between whole-animal performance and reproductive success, suggesting that intrasexual selection can act directly on sprint speed performance and drive the evolution of underlying morphological traits.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Herpetozoa
                Herpetozoa
                Pensoft Publishers
                2682-955X
                1013-4425
                May 31 2019
                May 31 2019
                : 32
                : 125-131
                Article
                10.3897/herpetozoa.32.e35654
                c440cc16-5828-40a6-9ab8-86f1d5d24978
                © 2019

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