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J Exp Zool A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2009 Feb 1;311(2):125-33. doi: 10.1002/jez.509.

Many-lined sun skinks (Mabuya multifasciata) do not compensate for the costs of tail loss by increasing feeding rate or digestive efficiency.

Author information

1
Hangzhou Key Laboratory for Animal Sciences and Technology, School of Life Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 310036, Zhejiang, China.

Abstract

We used the many-lined sun skink (Mabuya multifasciata) as a model system to evaluate the energetic and locomotor costs of tail loss, and to examine whether tailless skinks compensate for the costs of tail loss by increasing feeding rate or digestive efficiency. We successively removed three tail segments from each of the 20 experimental skinks initially having intact tails. Energy content in each removed tail segment was measured, and swimming performance was measured for each experimental skink before and after each tail-removing treatment. Another independent sample of 19 skinks with intact tails were measured for swimming performance to serve as controls for successive measurements taken for the experimental skinks. Tailless experimental skinks and control skinks were then measured for food intake and digestive efficiency. Tail loss affected swimming speed, but the adverse influence was not significant until more than 55% of the tail (in length) was lost. Our data show that partial tail loss may not severely affect energy stores or locomotor performance in M. multifasciata. However, as tail breaks occurred more frequently in the proximal portion of the tail in skinks collected from the field, we conclude that caudal autotomy occurring in nature often incurs substantial energetic and locomotor costs. As tailless and tailed skinks did not differ in food intake, apparent digestive coefficient and assimilation efficiency, we conclude that tailless individuals do not compensate for the costs of tail loss by increasing feeding rate or digestive efficiency in M. multifasciata.

PMID:
19016237
DOI:
10.1002/jez.509
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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