Research Articles


, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 530-533

First online:

Heritability of locomotor performance and its correlates in a natural population

  • T. GarlandJrAffiliated withDept of Zoology, University of Wisconsin
  • , A. F. BennettAffiliated withDept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California
  • , C. B. DanielsAffiliated withDept of Physiology, School of Medicine, Flinders University

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Locomotor capacities and their physiological bases are thought to be of considerable selective importance in natural populations. Within this functional complex, organismal performance traits (e.g., speed, stamina) are expected to be of more direct selective importance than their suborganismal determinants (e.g., heart size). Quantitative genetics theory predicts that traits of greater selective importance should generally have lower heritabilities at equilibrium. Contrary to these expectations, we report that organismal performance traits had the highest heritabilities in a natural population of garter snakes.

Key words

Evolution genetics heritability locomotion physiology