Advertisement

Mammalian Biology

, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 214–223 | Cite as

Ontogeny of running performance in the wild guinea pig (Cavia aperea)

  • F. TrillhichEmail author
  • Martina Bieneck
  • Edda Geissler
  • H.-J. Bischof
Original investigation

Abstract

Young of precocial species depend on their locomotory abilities to follow their mother to foraging areas, and to avoid predators. We measured for the wild guinea pig (Cavia aperea), a relatively small species (adult mass 400–600 g) with particularly precocial young, how running ability develops with age and how it compares to adult performance. We also asked to what extent females are impaired in their locomotor performance when pregnant, and tested how high adults can jump. Animals used trot and gallop for most locomotion except when calmly foraging. They jumped to a maximal height of 60 cm from a standing start. Maximal escape speeds of adults averaged 4.12 m/sec, peak velocity measured was 6.0 m/sec. Newborn young, weighing only 77 g, were able to run at speeds up to 2.55 m/sec, and reached adult levels (about 4.0 m/sec) when only 20 days old. This is partly explained by a positive allometry of leg length in comparison to mass. Locomotion of wild guinea pigs develops in a highly precocial manner and appears adapted to allow short bouts of high burst speed. Running speeds of adults are similar to those of similarly sized sciurids.

Keywords

Cavia aperea locomotion ontogeny precociality running 

Die Ontogenese der Laufgeschwindigkeit bei Wildmeerschweinchen (Cavia aperea)

Zusammenfassung

Jungtiere nestflüchtender Säugetiere folgen ab Geburt ihrer Mutter und sind begrenzt in der Lage, Räubern durch Flucht zu entkommen. Wir untersuchten am Wildmeerschweinchen (Cavia aperea), einer relativ kleinen Art (Adultgewicht 400–600 g) mit extrem nestflüchtenden Jungtieren, wie sich die Lauffähigkeit mit dem Alter entwickelt und wie bald Jungtiere die Leistung der Adulten erreichen. Außer bei ruhiger Nahrungssuche bewegten sich die Tiere meist im Trab oder Gallop. Sie sprangen aus dem Stand bis zu 60 cm hoch. Die maximale Fluchtgeschwindigkeit von Adulten betrug im Mittel 4,12 m/sec, die Spitzengeschwindigkeit betrug 6,0 m/sec. Neugeborene Jungtiere mit einem Gewicht von 77 g liefen mit Geschwindgkeiten bis zu 2,55 m/sec und erreichten die Leistungen von Adulten (etwa 4,0 m/sec) bereits im Alter von 20 Tagen. Die hohen Leistungen der Jungtiere werden z. T. durch eine positive Allometrie zwischen Beinlänge und Gewicht erklärt. Die Lokomotion von Wildmeerschweinchen ist bereits bei Geburt sehr weit entwickelt und erscheint auf kurze Spurts mit hoher Laufgeschwindigkeit angepaßt. Die Laufgeschwindgkeiten adulter Wildmeerschweinchen entsprechen denen von etwa gleich großen Sciuriden.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Blumstein, D. T. (1992): Multivariate analysis of golden marmot maximum running speed: a new method to study MRS in the field. Ecology 73, 1757–1767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carrier, D. R. (1995): Ontogeny of jumping performance in the black tailed jack rabbit Lepus californicus. Zoology: Analysis of Complex Systems 94, 309–313.Google Scholar
  3. Carrier, D.R. (1996): Ontogenetic limits on locomotor pereformance. Physiol. Zool. 69, 467–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Djawdan, M.; Garland, T. Jr. (1988): Maximal running speed of bipedal and quadrupedal rodents. J. Mammalogy 69, 765–772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Garland, T. Jr. (1983): The relation between maximal running speed and body mass in terrestrial mammals. J. Zool. (London) 199, 157–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Heglund, N. C.; Taylor, C. R. (1988): Speed, stride frequency and energy cost per stride: how do they change with body size and gait? J. Exper. Biol. 138, 301–318.Google Scholar
  7. Hoyt, D. F.; Kenagy, G. J. (1988): Energy costs of walking and running gaits and their aerobic limits in golden-manteled ground squirrels. Physiol. Zool. 61, 34–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Künkele, J. (2000): Energetics of gestation relative to lactation in a precocial rodent, the guinea pig Cavia porcellus. J. Zool. (London) 250, 533–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Künkele, J.; Trillmich, F. (1997): Are precocial young cheaper? Lactation energetics in the guinea pig. Physiol. Zool. 70, 571–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lacher, T. E. Jr. (1981): The comparative social behavior of Kerodon rupestris and Galea spixii and the evolution of behavior in the Caviidae. Bull. Carnegie Museum Nat. Hist. 17, 5–71.Google Scholar
  11. Lee, S. J.; Witter, M. S.; Cuthill, I. C.; Goldsmith, A. R. (1996): Reduction in escape performance as a cost of reproduction in gravid starlings, Sturnus vulgaris. Proc. Roy. Soc. London B 263, 619–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lima, S. L.; Dill, L. M. (1990): Behavioral decisions made under the risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Can. J. Zool. 68, 619–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ricklefs, R. E. (1979): Adaptation, constraint, and compromise in avian postnatal development. Biol. Rev. 54, 269–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rood, J. P. (1972): Ecological and behavioural comparisons of three genera of argentine cavies. Anim. Behav. Monogr. 5, 1–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Seigel, R. A.; Huggins, M. M.; Ford, N. B. (1987): Reduction in locomotor ability as a cost of reproduction in gravid snakes. Oecologia 46, 92–100.Google Scholar
  16. Sinervo, B.; Hedges, R.; Adolph, S. C. (1991): Decreased sprint speed as a cost of reproduction in the lizard Sceloporus occidentalis: variation among populations. J. Exp. Biol. 155, 323–336.Google Scholar
  17. Statsoft inc. (1999): Statistica for Windows. Tulsa, OK.Google Scholar
  18. Trombulak, S. C. (1989): Running speed and body mass in Belding’s ground squirrel. J. Mammalogy 70, 194–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Weir, B. J. (1974): Reproductive characteristics of Hystricomorph rodents. In: The biology of hystricomorph rodents. Ed. by I. W. Rowlands and V. J. Weir. Symp. Zool. Soc. London 34. Pp. 265–302.Google Scholar
  20. Witter, M. S.; Cuthill, I. C. (1993): The ecological costs of avian fat storage. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 340, 73–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Witter, M. S.; Cuthill, I. C.; Bonser, R. H. C. (1994): Experimental investiagtions of massdependent predation risk in the European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris. Anim. Behav. 48, 201–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ydenberg, R. C.; Dill, L. M. (1986): The economics of fleeing from predators. Adv. Study Behav. 16, 229–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Trillhich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martina Bieneck
    • 1
  • Edda Geissler
    • 1
  • H.-J. Bischof
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für VerhaltensforschungUniversität BielefeldBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations