Publication
Title
Foraging mode constrains the evolution of cephalic horns in lizards and snakes
Author
Abstract
A phylogenetically diverse minority of snake and lizard species exhibit rostral and ocular appendages that substantially modify the shape of their heads. These cephalic horns have evolved multiple times in diverse squamate lineages, enabling comparative tests of hypotheses on the benefits and costs of these distinctive traits. Here, we demonstrate correlated evolution between the occurrence of horns and foraging mode. We argue that although horns may be beneficial for various functions (e.g. camouflage, defence) in animals that move infrequently, they make active foragers more conspicuous to prey and predators, and hence are maladaptive. We therefore expected horns to be more common in species that ambush prey (entailing low movement rates) rather than in actively searching (frequently moving) species. Consistent with that hypothesis, our phylogenetic comparative analysis of published data on 1939 species reveals that cephalic horns occur almost exclusively in sit-and-wait predators. This finding underlines how foraging mode constrains the morphology of squamates and provides a compelling starting point for similar studies in other animal groups.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Biology letters / Royal Society [Londen] - London
Publication
London : 2023
ISSN
1744-9561 [print]
1744-957X [online]
DOI
10.1098/RSBL.2023.0395
Volume/pages
19 :11 (2023) , p. 1-6
Article Reference
20230395
ISI
001107886900005
Pubmed ID
37990563
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Project info
Tales from the horned – Exploring the functionality and evolutionary history behind horn occurrence in vipers.
Convergent evolution of functional surfaces in biology: surface structure complexity of lizard skin.
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identifier
Creation 23.11.2023
Last edited 16.02.2024
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