A Doubly Regenerated Tail and Other Morphological Oddities

I’m doing fieldwork with Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL, this summer. We now have about 125 lizards  measured and marked, and have come across a number of interesting morphological oddities in these lizards. Most interesting so far is this doubly regenerated tail, i.e. there appear to be two spots at which the tail has regenerated, which means a regenerated tail must have broken and regenerated again.

A doubly regenerated tail in a male Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL.

A doubly regenerated tail in a male Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL.

Approximately three minutes before we noticed this tail, my field assistant Christian Perez asked me if double regenerations were possible, and I confidently said “no.” As Jonathan Losos puts it in Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree, “when a tail regenerates, the new portion of is made of a rod of cartilage and thus lacks the intravertebral breakage planes that enable an unregenerated tail to autotomize.” So how did this double regeneration happen? Anyone seen this before?

The next oddity is this male with a mysteriously shortened upper jaw:

A shortened upper jaw in a male Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL.

A shortened upper jaw in a male Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL.

Third, we have a partially discoloured dewlap:

 

A discoloured dewlap in Gainesville, FL

A discoloured dewlap in Gainesville, FL

And finally, here’s an addition to our collection (1, 2) of multiply tailed lizards:

A double tail in an Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL.

A double tail in an Anolis sagrei in Gainesville, FL.

 

9 thoughts on “A Doubly Regenerated Tail and Other Morphological Oddities

  1. I have also seen cases such as that here in Taiwan. I even recorded a male with two regenerated tails.

  2. I’ve seen this quite a bit in sagrei, and allegedly it happens in Australian skinks too. But it is not meant to happen! Is it regeneration similar to agamids which don’t have intravertebral breakage planes?

  3. A year or two ago I noticed a brown anole (sagrei) with two regenerating tails in our yard. I observed and photographed this anole over several months. It looked as if the original tail had broken, but didn’t completely break off. A new tail regenerated from the point of the break, and another new tail started growing from the partially broken off piece.

    1. In some of the city parks in Gainesville–Possum Creek Park and Northside Park, primarily. If you visit either of those parks, you may see our flagging tape on many of the trees!

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