Meeting Abstract

60.1  Friday, Jan. 6  Foils of flexion: the effects of perch compliance on lizard locomotion and perch choice in the wild GILMAN, C.A.*; IRSCHICK, D.J.; University of Massachusetts Amherst

For arboreal animals, the interaction between individuals and their habitat can be complex due to variability in perch characteristics, such as diameter, length, angle, and compliance. Perch compliance may be of particular concern for arboreal animals that use jumping as a means of moving through their habitat because of the high forces generated during takeoff, and the potential for loss of energy from the jump to the flexion of the perch. The arboreal lizard Anolis carolinensis ranges throughout the southeastern United States, and occupies a wide range of perches. Many of these perches, like leaves and small diameter branches, are highly compliant. Prior studies have shown that perch height and diameter are important habitat characteristics for this species, but the effects of perch compliance on performance and behavior in the wild are unknown. We recently performed lab trials on the effects of perch compliance on jumping kinematics and performance in A. carolinensis, and found that increased compliance resulted in significantly decreased jump distances and takeoff velocities in the largest animals. Because these lizards occupy habitats in which they must jump to and from unsteady perches, these results suggest that perch compliance may be an important structural variable that influences how this species negotiates its habitat. In this study we observed the jumping behavior of a Florida population of A. carolinensis and quantified the compliance of perches found in their habitat, those randomly occupied by the green anole, and those used for jumping by this population. Here we present the effects of perch compliance on perch choice and locomotion in a natural population of male and female A. carolinensis.