Ontogeny of the morphology-performance axis in an amphibious fish (Kryptolebias marmoratus)
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by the publisher. 12 month embargo to be applied on publication
Establishing links between morphology and performance is important for understanding the functional, ecological, and evolutionary implications of morphological diversity. Relationships between morphology and performance are expected to be age-dependent if, at different points during ontogeny, animals must perform in different capacities to achieve high fitness returns. Few studies have examined how the relationship between form and function changes across ontogeny. Here, we assess this relationship in the amphibious mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) fish, a species that is both capable of and reliant on “tail-flip jumping” for terrestrial locomotion. Tail-flip jumping entails an individual transferring its weight to the caudal region of the body, launching itself from the substrate to navigate to new aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats. By combining repeated trials of jumping performance in 237 individuals from distinct age classes with a clearing and staining procedure to visualize bones in the caudal region, we test the hypotheses that as age increases: i) average jumping performance (body lengths jumped) will increase, ii) the amount of variation for each trait will change, and iii) the patterns of covariation/correlation among traits, which tell us about the integration of form with function, will also change. We find a significant increase in size-adjusted jumping performance with age, and modification to the correlation structure among traits across ontogeny. However, we also find that significant links between form and function evident in young animals disappear at later ontogenetic stages. Our study suggests that different functional mechanisms may be associated with high performance at different stages of development.
This is the author accepted manuscript.
Awaiting citation and DOI