Jumping is one of the most common modes of locomotion for animals, and animals in the wild often jump off a range of substrates. We tested the effects of varying surface diameter (1 and 5 cm) on jumping performance and kinematics in two species of arboreal geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus and Correlophus ciliatus). Both are medium-sized (~10–15 g) geckos that readily jump off a range of diameters. We filmed maximal jumps with a Photron high-speed camera at 500 frames · s−1. We found that diameter had little impact on either jumping performance (distance) or kinematics (takeoff angle and speed, landing angle, jump duration), but mass had a positive effect on both jump distance and takeoff speed in C. ciliatus. Further, C. ciliatus exhibited higher takeoff velocities and tended to have greater jump distances compared to R. auriculatus. The factors causing this among-species difference are unclear, but differences in both tail morphology and how these species use their tails could partly explain this difference. Our study confirms other studies, which show that lizards are scarcely affected by diameter in terms of jumping, and we discuss some of the reasons for why lizards are able to effectively overcome this environmental challenge.
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