Aquatic locomotor kinematics of the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii)

Ringma, Jeremy L. and Salisbury, Steven W. (2014) Aquatic locomotor kinematics of the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii). Journal of Herpetology, 48 2: 240-248. doi:10.1670/12-041

Author Ringma, Jeremy L.
Salisbury, Steven W.
Title Aquatic locomotor kinematics of the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii)
Formatted title
Aquatic locomotor kinematics of the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii)
Journal name Journal of Herpetology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-1511
Publication date 2014-06
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1670/12-041
Open Access Status
Volume 48
Issue 2
Start page 240
End page 248
Total pages 9
Place of publication Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Publisher Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Quantitative studies of the axial undulatory swimming techniques used by secondarily aquatic vertebrates have been largely restricted to crocodilians. Numerous members of the suborder Lacertilia (lizards) are also known to swim using axial undulatory techniques, but how they do so has received minimal attention from the scientific community. We investigated the morphology and undulatory locomotor kinematics adopted by the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii) through observation of natural swimming and filming of animals in a flume tank with a high speed camera. We found that morphological modifications associated with improved swimming ability and correlations between wave characteristics and swimming velocity are limited to the tail. The shape of dorsal spines and the reduction in the width of transverse processes of the caudal vertebrae result in a mediolaterally compressed tail instead of the typically rounded or dorsoventrally compressed tail seen in other Australian agamids. Axial undulatory swimming in I. lesueurii was found to be conceptually similar to that of crocodilians, but the relatively long and thin terminal part of the tail produces a different shaped undulatory wave. Unlike crocodilians and fishes, I. lesueurii does not use frequency moderated velocity control. Instead, changes in velocity are solely controlled by the phase speed of the propagating wave. The combined effect of these traits is comparable efficiency and performance in the water relative to that of crocodilians and an improvement relative to terrestrial lizards.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
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