Meeting Abstract

74.2  Saturday, Jan. 5  The effect of autotomy on locomotor performance in the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. JAMES, C.J.*; MCELROY, E.J.; College of Charleston

Autotomy is the practice of losing the tail in an effort to escape a predator. Though the immediate threat of predation is avoided via autotomy, the costs of tail loss may have a significant impact on locomotive performance; this could jeopardize the animal’s ability to feed, escape from future predators, and reproductive capacity.Many studies have examined the impact of autotomy on running performance, but few studies have looked at other aspects of performance capacity. This study examined locomotor ability in the green anole, Anolis carolinensis,to better understand the effects of tail autotomy on both climbing and running performance. Maximum speed and acceleration were measured as lizards burst from a standstill to maximum speed and these measures were repeated before and after autotomy. Autotomy was found to have a significant impact on climbing performance, while terrestrial locomotion was unaffected. These results implicate a significant role for the tail in climbing locomotion in anoles, as has been previously reported for geckos.