For the last several months, I’ve been collecting eggs from 36 female Anolis sagrei from Gainesville, FL. This is for a project on linking the movement patterns and mating patterns of brown anoles. To be able to assess which males have mated with each of these females, I’ll be sequencing the DNA from the mothers, their offspring, and potential fathers, and then trying to figure out which males have fathered each female’s offspring. All this is to say that what I want from the eggs I’ve been collecting is the offspring’s DNA. To this end, I’ve been dissecting out embryos from eggs about ten days after laying, and storing the tissue for future genetic work.
So far, the females have laid over 300 eggs, and dissecting embryos out of them has gotten a little monotonous. So I didn’t pay any special attention to an egg that looked perhaps a bit bigger than normal. I was shocked, though, when two seemingly healthy embryos popped out of it!
My initial excitement waned when I realised that twins are not that rare in humans, but returned when two anole breeding experts (AA correspondents Thom Sanger and Anthony Geneva) said that they haven’t seen anything quite like this before. In Thom’s words, “I’ve only found two [twins] in over a decade of dissecting eggs, both were conjoined and inviable. I think you have something special.”
Have any of you seen anything like this before?