Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lizards May Help Unlock Secrets of Evolution

Date:
March 8, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Hundreds of species of anoles roam the Caribbean Islands and parts of North and South America, a highly diverse and colorful small lizard that scientists have studied in hopes of unlocking the secrets of evolution. Kirsten E. Nicholson, a Central Michigan University assistant biology professor, has just published a paper in PLoS ONE on her four-year study of Caribbean anoles that may provide a building block for future evolutionary studies.

Hundreds of species of anoles roam the Caribbean Islands and parts of North and South America, a highly diverse and colorful small lizard that scientists have studied in hopes of unlocking the secrets of evolution.

Kirsten E. Nicholson, a Central Michigan University assistant biology professor, has just published a paper in PLoS ONE on her four-year study of Caribbean anoles that may provide a building block for future evolutionary studies.

PLoS ONE is a peer-reviewed online scientific journal from the Public Library of Science covering primary research within science and medicine.

In her study of 140 species of anoles on the Caribbean Islands, Nicholson disproved common theories for how anoles evolved by studying each species' distinctive dewlap, a large skin flap beneath the throat.

The highly colorful dewlap has patterns distinctive to each species -- sort of like a flying flag -- and evolutionary biologists study it closely because the anoles fully extend these dewlaps as signals when mating or establishing territory.

Biologists have wondered whether anoles species that live in a very similar habitat, such as a tree top, also developed some of the same dewlap characteristics -- a theory called ecomorph convergence. Other studies have found that anoles in similar micro-habitats have converged in many characteristics. But in her study, Nicholson found no support for the hypothesis: Species in the same micro-habitat were no more similar in their dewlap configuration than expected by chance.

Nicholson also studied whether anole species that co-exist tend to exhibit dewlaps that differ from each other-- a theory called species recognition. Again, Nicholson found very little or no correlation.

One remaining theory to consider is that the dewlaps evolved through sexual selection, Nicholson said. She hopes to examine that in a future study.

Citation: Nicholson KE, Harmon LJ, Losos JB (2007) Evolution of Anolis Lizard Dewlap Diversity. PLoS ONE 2(3): e274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000274 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000274)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Lizards May Help Unlock Secrets of Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070307075711.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, March 8). Lizards May Help Unlock Secrets of Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070307075711.htm
Public Library of Science. "Lizards May Help Unlock Secrets of Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070307075711.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins