Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lizard Hunting Styles Impact Ability To Walk, Run

Date:
April 26, 2008
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
The technique lizards use to grab their grub influences how they move, according to new research. Lizards use two basic foraging techniques. In the first approach, aptly dubbed sit-and-wait, lizards spend most of their time perched in one location waiting for their prey to pass. Then, with a quick burst of speed, they run after their prey, snatching it up with their tongues. In the other form of foraging, known as wide or active foraging, lizards move constantly but very slowly in their environment, using their chemosensory system to stalk their prey.

Scientists studied lizard walking and running mechanics on a race track with a built-in force plate.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Reilly, Ohio University

The technique lizards use to grab their grub influences how they move, according to researchers at Ohio University.

A research team led by doctoral student Eric McElroy tracked 18 different species of lizards as they walked or ran in order to understand how their foraging styles impact their biomechanics.

Lizards use two basic foraging techniques. In the first approach, aptly dubbed sit-and-wait, lizards spend most of their time perched in one location waiting for their prey to pass. Then, with a quick burst of speed, they run after their prey, snatching it up with their tongues.

In the other form of foraging, known as wide or active foraging, lizards move constantly but very slowly in their environment, using their chemosensory system to stalk their prey, according to the research team, which included McElroy’s adviser Stephen Reilly, professor of biological sciences, and undergraduate honors thesis student Kristin Hickey.

Although wide foraging evolved from the sit-and-wait technique, these two styles are almost opposites. Some wide foragers are on the move about 80 percent of the time while sit-and-wait foragers may move only about 10 percent of the time, said Reilly, co-author of a recent book on the topic, Lizard Ecology, published by the Cambridge University Press.

While all lizards have the ability to run, a predatory defense mechanism, the study found that sit-and-wait lizards won’t walk. Lizards that use the sit-and-wait method of foraging use running mechanics even when moving at slower speeds.

Wide foragers, however, evolved a walking gait and mechanics. They must move at slower speeds in order to use their advanced chemosensory system to locate their prey.

Foraging and locomotion are so closely linked, in fact, that three groups of wide foragers that had reverted to using the sit-and-wait technique actually lost the ability to walk, the researchers reported.

“The most interesting aspect of this research is that it demonstrates a clear link between animal behavior and functional morphology. It’s quite amazing and surprising that the behavioral diversity that everyone knows about and is inspired by is grounded in form, function and physiology,” McElroy said.

The researchers used a race track with a built-in force plate to record the forces generated by the lizards and a high-speed video camera to record each critter moving at various speeds. The scientists collected data from the force plate and analyzed the video to determine whether the lizard was using running or walking mechanics.

The study used a large, representative sample of lizards made up of 18 different species, such as skinks, iguanas and monitor lizards. This extensive study uses one of the largest data sets for center of mass mechanics, McElroy said, and is one of the few that focuses on reptiles instead of mammals.

“Everybody works with people, dogs or horses. But they’re all freaks,” Reilly said. “They’ve gone erect, they have extra joints. They are the kings of bouncing vaulting and running fast. We are working on the sprawlers.”

The study, funded by the National Science Foundation, was featured in the April 1 edition of the Journal of Experimental Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Lizard Hunting Styles Impact Ability To Walk, Run." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421145204.htm>.
Ohio University. (2008, April 26). Lizard Hunting Styles Impact Ability To Walk, Run. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421145204.htm
Ohio University. "Lizard Hunting Styles Impact Ability To Walk, Run." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421145204.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins