TitleSex-specific trade-offs and compensatory mechanisms: bite force and sprint speed pose conflicting demands on the design of geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCameron S.F, Wynn M.L, Wilson R.S
Date PublishedOct
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-0949
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV201300724084
Keywords(mature, 07002, Behavioral biology - General and comparative behavior, 07003,, Animals, Chordates, Nonhuman, Behavior, Behavioral biology - Animal behavior, compensatory mechanism, competitive ability, sex specificity, sprint, comprehensive assessment, female, male)], frenatus, gecko, laboratory techniques, performance, Reptilia, Vertebrata, Chordata, Animalia, Sauria [85408], Vertebrates, Reptiles, Vertebrates, [Hemidactylus
AbstractOne of the more intuitive viability costs that can result from the possession of exaggerated sexually selected traits is increased predation pressure as a result of reduced locomotor capacity. Despite mixed empirical support for such locomotor costs, recent studies suggest that such costs may be masked by compensatory traits that effectively offset any detrimental effects. In this study, we provide a comprehensive assessment of the locomotor costs associated with improved male-male competitive ability by simultaneously testing for locomotor trade-offs and potential compensatory mechanisms in territorial male and non-territorial female geckos. Fighting capacity and escape performance of male Asian house geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) are likely to pose conflicting demands on the optimum phenotype for each task. Highly territorial and aggressive males may require greater investment in head size/strength but such an enhancement may affect overall escape performance. Among male geckos, we found that greater biting capacity because of larger head size was associated with reduced sprint performance; this trade-off was further exacerbated when sprinting on an incline. Females, however, showed no evidence of this trade-off on either flat or inclined surfaces. The sex specificity of this trade-off suggests that the sexes differ in their optimal strategies for dealing with the conflicting requirements of bite force and sprint speed. Unlike males, female H. frenatus had a positive association between hindlimb length and head size, suggesting that they have utilised a compensatory mechanism to alleviate the possible locomotor costs of larger head sizes. It appears that there is greater selection on traits that improve fighting ability (bite force) for males, but it is viability traits (sprint speed) that appear to be of greater importance for females. Our results emphasise that only by examining both functional trade-offs and potential compensatory mechanisms is it possible to discover the varied mechanisms affecting the morphological design of a species.