Document Detail

Triturus newts defy the running-swimming dilemma.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17133867     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Conflicts between structural requirements for carrying out different ecologically relevant functions may result in a compromise phenotype that maximizes neither function. Identifying and evaluating functional trade-offs may therefore aid in understanding the evolution of organismal performance. We examined the possibility of an evolutionary trade-off between aquatic and terrestrial locomotion in females of European species of the newt genus Triturus. Biomechanical models suggest a conflict between the requirements for aquatic and terrestrial locomotion. For instance, having an elongate, slender body, a large tail, and reduced limbs should benefit undulatory swimming, but at the cost of reduced running capacity. To test the prediction of an evolutionary trade-off between swimming and running capacity, we investigated relationships between size-corrected morphology and maximum locomotor performance in females of ten species of newts. Phylogenetic comparative analyses revealed that an evolutionary trend of body elongation (increasing axilla-groin distance) is associated with a reduction in head width and forelimb length. Body elongation resulted in reduced maximum running speed, but, surprisingly, also led to a reduction in swimming speed. The evolution of longer tails was associated with an increase in maximal swimming speed. We found no evidence for an evolutionary trade-off between aquatic and terrestrial locomotor performance, probably because of the unexpected negative effect of body elongation on swimming speed. We conclude that the idea of a design conflict between aquatic and terrestrial locomotion, mediated through antagonistic effects of body elongation, does not apply to our model system.
Lumir Gvozdík; Raoul Van Damme
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Evolution; international journal of organic evolution     Volume:  60     ISSN:  0014-3820     ISO Abbreviation:  Evolution     Publication Date:  2006 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-11-30     Completed Date:  2006-12-18     Revised Date:  2008-06-04    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0373224     Medline TA:  Evolution     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2110-21     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Population Biology, Institute of Vertebrate Biology AS CR, Studenec 122, 67502 Konĕsín, Czech Republic.
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MeSH Terms
Body Size
Triturus / anatomy & histology,  classification,  physiology*

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