In vivo cranial bone strain and bite force in the agamid lizard Uromastyx geyri

J Exp Biol. 2014 Jun 1;217(Pt 11):1983-92. doi: 10.1242/jeb.096362. Epub 2014 Feb 27.


In vivo bone strain data are the most direct evidence of deformation and strain regimes in the vertebrate cranium during feeding and can provide important insights into skull morphology. Strain data have been collected during feeding across a wide range of mammals; in contrast, in vivo cranial bone strain data have been collected from few sauropsid taxa. Here we present bone strain data recorded from the jugal of the herbivorous agamid lizard Uromastyx geyri along with simultaneously recorded bite force. Principal and shear strain magnitudes in Uromastyx geyri were lower than cranial bone strains recorded in Alligator mississippiensis, but higher than those reported from herbivorous mammals. Our results suggest that variations in principal strain orientations in the facial skeleton are largely due to differences in feeding behavior and bite location, whereas food type has little impact on strain orientations. Furthermore, mean principal strain orientations differ between male and female Uromastyx during feeding, potentially because of sexual dimorphism in skull morphology.

Keywords: Biomechanics; Feeding; Skull; Squamates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Bite Force*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Lizards / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Skull / anatomy & histology*
  • Stress, Mechanical*