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Does tail regeneration following autotomy restore lizard sprint speed? Evidence from the lacertid Psammodromus algirus

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Tail autotomy is a widespread antipredator strategy among lizards, which consists of the capability of willingly detaching a portion of the tail in order to escape predator attacks. Nonetheless, tail autotomy has a number of costs, including reduced sprint speed which increases predation risk. However, lizards regenerate the tail following autotomy, although a regenerated tail is usually shorter and histologically different from the original tail. In the present work, we assess the effect of tail regeneration on sprint speed by comparing Psammodromus algirus lizards with intact and regenerated tails under controlled laboratory conditions. We found that sprint speed was similar in lizards with intact and regenerated tails. Therefore, tail regeneration following autotomy effectively restored sprint speed, although regenerated tails were shorter than intact ones. Thus, regenerating shorter tails could diminish anabolic costs with no negative consequences on flight ability.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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