JMIH 2016: Anolis conspersus Color variation and Habitat Use

Bright and early this morning, Christopher Peterson kicked off the anole talks of the day on the topic “Intraspecific color and habitat use variation in Anolis conspersus.” Christopher noted that on Grand Cayman there appear to be three color morphs for A. conspersus: brown, blue, and green and asked if color morph was correlated with habitat use. Christopher captured 309 lizards across the island, photographed them for color analysis, and took a large number of habitat measurements plus basic morphology of the lizards (mass, SVL). When analyzing the color data, however, he noticed that the picture was not so clear: many of the lizards had both blue and green coloration. Since these were not discrete groups, instead he analyzed body pattern, which appeared to be more discrete and showed the same geographical variation. In general, lizards on the East of the island were brown and spotted while the lizards on the West of the island were green/blue with vermiculated pattern.

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Using a complex logistic regression, Christopher analyzed the discretized character state with his habitat and morphological measurements. Disappointingly, he found no associations between morphology or habitat use with body patterns. He concluded that the variation in pattern and coloration is probably best explained by geographic location alone and that future genetic analyses may help clear up if this is a geographical cline with isolation by distance.

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About Kristin Winchell

I'm a Ph.D. candidate at UMass Boston in the Revell lab. I am interested in how animals respond to urbanization from an ecological and evolutionary perspective. My dissertation research has focused on adaptive shifts in the Puerto Rican crested anole, Anolis cristatellus, in response to urbanization. Website: http://kmwinchell.wordpress.com

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