We use a treadmill to measure lizard locomotor endurance. The measurement of ecologically relevant performance traits is crucial in understanding adaptive radiations of the locomotor system in animals. Endurance is thought to be related to an animal's acpacity to move about for prolonged periods of time while foraging or looking for mates. Additionally, endurance capacity can be expected to be correlated to an animal's anti-predatory strategy (Vanhooydonck et al., 2003). However, as the demands on the locomotor system for endurance are potentially conflicting with those of fast sprinting and accelerations, we expect trade-offs in the design of animals (Vanhooydonck et al. 2001).
We also use the treadmill to study limb kinematics and spatio-temporal gait characteristics of lizards (Vanhooydonck et al., 2002). As the treadmill has variable speed, a whole range of locomotor speeds can be induced while animals remain in the field of view of the camera.
- Vanhooydonck, B., R. Van Damme, and P. Aerts (2001) Speed and stamina trade-off in lacertid lizards. Evolution 55(5): 1040-1048.
- Vanhooydonck, B., R. Van Damme and P. Aerts (2002) Variation in speed, gait characteristics, and microhabitat use in lacertid lizards. J. Exp. Biol. 205: 1037-1046
- Vanhooydonck, B. and R. Van Damme (2003) Relationships between locomotor performance, microhabitat use and antipredator behaviour in lacertid lizards. Funct. Ecol. 17: 160-169.