SICB 2018: Ecomorph Claws in Greater Antillean Anoles

The cover slide of Michael Yuan's talk at SICB 2018.

The cover slide of Michael Yuan’s talk at SICB 2018.

Convergent forms of anoles can be found across the Greater Antilles, with similar phenotypic and ecological morphs filling similar microhabitats from island to island.  Anole ecomorphs are in part defined by the extent of arboreality, as most species in the Greater Antilles spend a lot of time in trees.  Crandell et al. 2014 found arboreality to be associated with significant differences in claw characteristics in Costa Rica and Panama.  In Greater Antillean anoles, similar research into claw morphology has yet to investigate if this relationship holds across ecomorphs. Michael Yaun, a PhD student in the Wang lab at UC Berkeley, set out to investigate the patterns of variation of claw morphology in the Greater Antillean anoles.

Anolis barbouri is shown as an outlier in a PCA. The flattened claws of this ground-dwelling anole are illustrated in black to the right.

Anolis barbouri is shown as an outlier in a PCA. The flattened claws of this ground-dwelling anole are illustrated in black to the right.

Michael sampled 566 individuals, which included 55 species of anoles, all 6 ecomorphs, and another 8 species without any ecomorph designations.  His results suggest that perch height and diameter produced differential effects on claw characteristics.  Performance traits like toepad lamellae number and area were not correlated with claw height and length.  Michael’s study uncovered only one anole that conformed to previous research: Anolis barbouri, the only truly terrestrial species in the data set, possessing flattened claws.  Intriguingly, twig anoles have the most divergent claws, an inspiring result for future directions!

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