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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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          Most cited references 46

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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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              The quick and the dead: correlational selection on morphology, performance, and habitat use in island lizards.

              Natural selection is an important driver of microevolution. Yet, despite significant theoretical debate, we still have a poor understanding of how selection operates on interacting traits (i.e., morphology, performance, habitat use). Locomotor performance is often assumed to impact survival because of its key role in foraging, predator escape, and social interactions, and shows strong links with morphology and habitat use within and among species. In particular, decades of study suggest, but have not yet demonstrated, that natural selection on locomotor performance has shaped the diversification of Anolis lizards in the Greater Antilles. Here, we estimate natural selection on sprinting speed and endurance in small replicate island populations of Anolis sagrei. Consistent with past correlational studies, long-limbed lizards ran faster on broad surfaces but also had increased sprint sensitivity on narrow surfaces. Moreover, performance differences were adaptive in the wild. Selection favored long-limbed lizards that were fast on broad surfaces, and preferred broad substrates in nature, and also short-limbed lizards that were less sprint sensitive on narrow surfaces, and preferred narrow perches in nature. This finding is unique in showing that selection does not act on performance alone, but rather on unique combinations of performance, morphology, and habitat use. Our results support the long-standing hypothesis that correlated selection on locomotor performance, morphology, and habitat use drives the evolution of ecomorphological correlations within Caribbean Anolis lizards, potentially providing a microevolutionary mechanism for their remarkable adaptive radiation.
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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
                © 2019

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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