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International Journal of Zoology
Volume 2012, Article ID 627470, 16 pages
Research Article

Effects of Surface Roughness on the Locomotion of a Long-Tailed Lizard, Colobodactylus taunayi Amaral, 1933 (Gymnophthalmidae: Heterodactylini)

1Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão, Travessa 14 No. 101, 05508-090 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2UMR 7205, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 57 Rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
3Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas, Universidade Federal do ABC, Avenida dos Estados, No. 5001, 09210-170 Santo André, SP, Brazil
4Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão, Travessa 14 No. 101, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 7 June 2012; Revised 10 October 2012; Accepted 29 November 2012

Academic Editor: Erin Leone

Copyright © 2012 Elizabeth Höfling et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We analyzed the locomotor behavior of a long-tailed, forest floor, and leaf litter lizard, Colobodactylus taunayi, a species that retains the generalized Gymnophthalmidae Bauplan whilst presenting the discrete toe reduction associated with the Bachia-like pattern of limb reduction. We videotaped individuals moving on four substrates with increasing degrees of roughness: plastic, wooden board, glued sand, and glued gravel. Significantly higher speeds occurred on the last two substrates. As with most other limbed animals, increased speed was significantly correlated with simultaneous increases in both stride length and stride frequency. Independently of the kind of substrate, C. taunayi used rather slow lateral sequence walking trots. In contrast to other ectothermic tetrapods, and especially other Gymnophthalmidae, this species lacked perceptible lateral flexion of either the trunk or the tail to effectuate these slow gaits.