The Jacky lizard (Amphibolurus muricatus) responds to greater plant motion noise by extending the duration of introductory tail flicking, which might impose an energetic cost on the signaler. Quantifying the relative cost of motion signals, however, is not straightforward. Indeed standard techniques for measuring signal energetics utilize apparatus that inhibits the behaviour of interest. Furthermore, many techniques take a whole-body approach to signaling that may not permit comparisons of the relative cost of components within a given signal. To begin to consider the relative cost of tail flicking, we compared the energy requirements of muscle used to generate movements. We infer from muscle biochemistry that sustained movements are achieved by shifting from a high cost, fatiguable muscle in the distal part of the tail to lower cost, fatigue resistant muscle at the base of the tail.
(Note: Animals used in the study were from a captive colony and all died of natural causes)