Document Detail

Shake Rattle and Roll: The Bony Labyrinth and Aerial Descent in Squamates.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21700578     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Controlled aerial descent has evolved many times independently in vertebrates. Squamates (lizards and snakes) are unusual in that respect due to the large number of independent origins of the evolution of this behavior. Although some squamates such as flying geckos of the genus Ptychozoon and the flying dragons of the genus Draco show obvious adaptations including skin flaps or enlarged ribs allowing them to increase their surface area and slow down their descent, many others appear unspecialized. Yet, specializations can be expected at the level of the sensory and neural systems allowing animals to maintain stability during controlled aerial descent. The vestibular system is a likely candidate given that it is an acceleration detector and is well-suited to detect changes in pitch, roll and yaw. Here we use conventional and synchrotron μCT scans to quantify the morphology of the vestibular system in squamates able to perform controlled aerial descent compared to species characterized by a terrestrial or climbing life style. Our results show the presence of a strong phylogenetic signal in the data with the vestibular system in species from the same family being morphologically similar. However, both our shape analysis and an analysis of the dimensions of the vestibular system showed clear differences among animals with different life-styles. Species able to perform a controlled aerial descent differed in the position and shape of the inner ear, especially of the posterior ampulla. Given the limited stability of squamates against roll and the fact that the posterior ampulla is tuned to changes in roll this suggests an adaptive evolution of the vestibular system in squamates using controlled aerial descent. Future studies testing for similar differences in other groups of vertebrates known to use controlled aerial descent are needed to test the generality of this observation.
Renaud Boistel; Anthony Herrel; Renaud Lebrun; Gheylen Daghfous; Paul Tafforeau; Jonathan B Losos; Bieke Vanhooydonck
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-6-22
Journal Detail:
Title:  Integrative and comparative biology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1557-7023     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-6-24     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101152341     Medline TA:  Integr Comp Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
*IPHEP-UMR CNRS 6046, UFR SFA, Université de Poitiers, 40 avenue du Recteur Pineau, F-86022, Poitiers, France; UMR 7179C.N.R.S/M.N.H.N., Département d'Ecologie et de Gestion de la Biodiversité, 57 rue Cuvier, Case postale 55, 75231, Paris Cedex 5, France; Institut des sciences de l'évolution, Université Montpellier 2 - CNRS, CP 64, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France; European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, 6 Rue Jules Horowitz, BP 220, 38043 Grenoble, Cedex 9, France; Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, 26 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Deptartment of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen, Belgium.
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