The energetic consequences of tail loss to juvenile lizards
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l evaluated the hypothesis that juveniles of species whose tail is important for predator deflection should allocate energy preferentially to tail growth at the expense of body growth. Relative linear tail growth (linear tail growth/linear body growth) and relative mass tail growth (tail mass growth/body mass growth) were measured for juveniles of two species of skinks: Eumeces Fasciatus that use the tail for predator deflection, and Chalcides ocellatus that does not use the tail for predator deflection. Experimental conditions produced an energy limiting situation under which the priority of energy allocation to tail regeneration should be exhibited. For E. fasciatus, relative linear tail growth was higher for the energy limited than control group and for the tail-removal than the tailed lizards. For C. ocellatus, relative linear tail growth was not affected by energy level but was lower for tail-removal than tailed lizards. For both species, relative tail mass growth was lower for the tail-removal than tailed lizards. The greater relative linear tail growth of regenerating than normal tails of E. fasciatus supports the hypothesis that rapid tail regeneration is important for a species whose tail is used for predator deflection. However, the low rate of tail regenerartion in mass suggests that mass gains in the regeneration process. In contrast, lower relative linear and mass tail growth of C. ocellatus that were regenerating tails suggests that tail regeneration has a low priority for this species.
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