We quantified the flight trajectories of Ptychozoon kuhli dropped from distances of 300 and 825 cm and the effects of removing the cutaneous flaps and binding the feet. Analyses suggested there is a threshold speed of approximately 650 cm/sec below which the lift generated does not significantly retard acceleration of the animal or permit shallow glide angles. Removal of cutaneous flaps from specimens gliding at airspeeds below 650 cm/sec had no effect on the flight; above 650 cm/sec the presence of the cutaneous flaps significantly slowed the specimen and produced shallower glide angles. Binding of the feet eliminated all maneuverability and led to a significant increase in airspeed as well as a significant decrease in glide angle. We propose that the webbed feet of Ptychozoon play a key function in gliding and that aerial locomotion in this taxon may be more similar to “flying” treefrogs than to other reptilian gliders.
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