Conflicts between structural requirements for carrying out different ecologically relevant functions may result in a compromise phenotype that maximizes neither function. Identifying and evaluating functional trade-offs may therefore aid in understanding the evolution of organismal performance. We examined the possibility of an evolutionary trade-off between aquatic and terrestrial locomotion in females of European species of the newt genus Triturus. Biomechanical models suggest a conflict between the requirements for aquatic and terrestrial locomotion. For instance, having an elongate, slender body, a large tail, and reduced limbs should benefit undulatory swimming, but at the cost of reduced running capacity. To test the prediction of an evolutionary trade-off between swimming and running capacity, we investigated relationships between size-corrected morphology and maximum locomotor performance in females of ten species of newts. Phylogenetic comparative analyses revealed that an evolutionary trend of body elongation (increasing axilla-groin distance) is associated with a reduction in head width and forelimb length. Body elongation resulted in reduced maximum running speed, but, surprisingly, also led to a reduction in swimming speed. The evolution of longer tails was associated with an increase in maximal swimming speed. We found no evidence for an evolutionary trade-off between aquatic and terrestrial locomotor performance, probably because of the unexpected negative effect of body elongation on swimming speed. We conclude that the idea of a design conflict between aquatic and terrestrial locomotion, mediated through antagonistic effects of body elongation, does not apply to our model system.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 60 • No. 10