Running faster causes disaster: trade-offs between speed, manoeuvrability and motor control when running around corners in northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus)

Wynn, Melissa L., Clemente, Christofer, Nasir, Ami Fadhillah Amir Abdul and Wilson, Robbie S. (2015) Running faster causes disaster: trade-offs between speed, manoeuvrability and motor control when running around corners in northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus). Journal of Experimental Biology, 218 3: 433-439. doi:10.1242/jeb.111682


Author Wynn, Melissa L.
Clemente, Christofer
Nasir, Ami Fadhillah Amir Abdul
Wilson, Robbie S.
Title Running faster causes disaster: trade-offs between speed, manoeuvrability and motor control when running around corners in northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus)
Journal name Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
1477-9145
Publication date 2015-02
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.111682
Open Access Status
Volume 218
Issue 3
Start page 433
End page 439
Total pages 7
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Company of Biologists
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Movement speed is fundamental to all animal behaviour, yet no general framework exists for understanding why animals move at the speeds they do. Even during fitness-defining behaviours like running away from predators, an animal should select a speed that balances the benefits of high speed against the increased probability of mistakes. In this study, we explored this idea by quantifying trade-offs between speed, manoeuvrability and motor control in wild northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) – a medium-sized carnivorous marsupial native to northern Australia. First, we quantified how running speed affected the probability of crashes when rounding corners of 45, 90 and 135 deg. We found that the faster an individual approached a turn, the higher the probability that they would crash, and these risks were greater when negotiating tighter turns. To avoid crashes, quolls modulated their running speed when they moved through turns of varying angles. Average speed for quolls when sprinting along a straight path was around 4.5 m s−1 but this decreased linearly to speeds of around 1.5 m s−1 when running through 135 deg turns. Finally, we explored how an individual's morphology affects their manoeuvrability. We found that individuals with larger relative foot sizes were more manoeuvrable than individuals with smaller relative foot sizes. Thus, movement speed, even during extreme situations like escaping predation, should be based on a compromise between high speed, manoeuvrability and motor control. We advocate that optimal – rather than maximal – performance capabilities underlie fitness-defining behaviours such as escaping predators and capturing prey.
Keyword Performance
Predator prey
Running speeds
Male Eastern Mosquitofish
Arboreal Habitat
Performance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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