, Volume 175, Issue 2, pp 471–480 | Cite as

Individual variation in thermal performance curves: swimming burst speed and jumping endurance in wild-caught tropical clawed frogs

  • Vincent CareauEmail author
  • Peter A. Biro
  • Camille Bonneaud
  • Eric B. Fokam
  • Anthony Herrel
Physiological ecology - Original research


The importance of studying individual variation in locomotor performance has long been recognized as it may determine the ability of an organism to escape from predators, catch prey or disperse. In ectotherms, locomotor performance is highly influenced by ambient temperature (T a), yet several studies have showed that individual differences are usually retained across a T a gradient. Less is known, however, about individual differences in thermal sensitivity of performance, despite the fact that it could represent adaptive sources of phenotypic variation and/or additional substrate for selection to act upon. We quantified swimming and jumping performance in 18 wild-caught tropical clawed frogs (Xenopus tropicalis) across a T a gradient. Maximum swimming velocity and acceleration were not repeatable and individuals did not differ in how their swimming performance varied across T a. By contrast, time and distance jumped until exhaustion were repeatable across the T a gradient, indicating that individuals that perform best at a given T a also perform best at another T a. Moreover, thermal sensitivity of jumping endurance significantly differed among individuals, with individuals of high performance at low T a displaying the highest sensitivity to T a. Individual differences in terrestrial performance increased with decreasing T a, which is opposite to results obtained in lizards at the inter-specific and among-individual levels. To verify the generality of these patterns, we need more studies on individual variation in thermal reaction norms for locomotor performance in lizards and frogs.


Anura Climate change Random regression Repeatability Silurana 



We would like to thank L. N. Gonwouo for his valuable help in the field, J. Rodriguez for help with animal husbandry, and M. Antoine for logistical support. This research was supported by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche MOBIGEN (ANR-09-PEXT-003 to A. H. and C. B.), a Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle Action transversale du Muséum (ATM) grant of the Biodiversité actuelle et fossile programme to A. H., a Marie Curie reintegration grant to C. B. (FP7-PEOPLE-IRG-2008 no. 239257), an Alfred Deakin postdoctoral research fellowship to V. C., and an ARC Future Fellowship to P. A. B. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on a previous draft.

Supplementary material

442_2014_2925_MOESM1_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 34 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Careau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter A. Biro
    • 1
  • Camille Bonneaud
    • 2
  • Eric B. Fokam
    • 3
  • Anthony Herrel
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental ScienceDeakin UniversityWaurn PondsAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Ecology and Conservation, College of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ExeterCornwallUK
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Animal SciencesUniversity of BueaBueaCameroon
  4. 4.Département d’Ecologie et de Gestion de la BiodiversitéUMR 7179 CNRS/MNHNParisFrance
  5. 5.Evolutionary Morphology of VertebratesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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