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Physiol Biochem Zool. 1999 May-Jun;72(3):339-51.

Secondarily diurnal geckos return to cost of locomotion typical of diurnal lizards.

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Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Previous studies showed that nocturnal geckos evolved a low energetic cost of locomotion (Cmin), which increases maximum aerobic speed and partially offsets the decrease in maximal oxygen consumption caused by activity at low nocturnal temperatures. Because the advantage of a low Cmin should apply at high diurnal temperatures as well as at low nocturnal temperatures, I hypothesized that Cmin remained low in geckos that have secondarily evolved diurnality. I measured Cmin in two secondarily diurnal gecko species, Rhoptropus bradfieldi (4.7 g+/-0.71 SE) and Phelsuma madagascariensis (23.9 g+/-3.7 SE), during steady exercise on a treadmill and rejected the hypothesis that secondarily diurnal geckos retain the low Cmin of their nocturnal ancestors. The Cmin in R. bradfieldi (2.468 mL O2 g-1 km-1+/-0.489 SE) and P. madagascariensis (1.389 mL O2 g-1 km-1+/-0.119 SE) returned to values typical of ancestrally diurnal lizards. This suggests that there is a trade-off that outweighs the performance advantage of low Cmin in a diurnal environment and that may cause an evolutionary association between Cmin and activity time (diurnality/nocturnality).

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