Jumping behavior and the effects of caudal autotomy on performance in Anolis carolinensis
Maximal locomotor performance in Anolis lizards has been studied extensively within and across species. Hindlimb length is correlated with jump distances in a number of species of anoles, and differences in the structural habitat can have effects on individual performance. Anolis carolinensis lizards were videotaped undisturbed in two habitat matrices of different perch densities. Neither maximal performance nor morphological features appear to affect locomotor behavior. Caudal autotomy, or tail-loss, is an anti-predator strategy in a variety of lizard species, including anoles, and presents immediate benefits to the animal, allowing for survival in an otherwise potentially fatal situation. However it is also accompanied by numerous costs including changes in locomotor ability. For example, sprint speed, climbing speed, and endurance are affected in different species of lizards. A. carolinensis use jumping frequently as a form of locomotion, often have long tails, and have the ability to autotomize their tails as an anti-predator strategy. Before autotomy, the angle of a lizard s body during jumping remains slightly above the horizontal throughout the jump. Following autotomy, body angles are extremely variable, and jump distances may be reduced.