Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting a tail up on conservation? New method for measuring lizard weight from size

Date:
September 2, 2010
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
A researcher in Israel has developed an improved tool for translating lizard body lengths to weights. The new equations calculate this valuable morphological feature to estimate the weight of a lizard species in a variety of different ecosystems.

Chameleon.
Credit: iStockphoto/Yevgen Antonov

Lizards are an important indicator species for understanding the condition of specific ecosystems. Their body weight is a crucial index for evaluating species health, but lizards are seldom weighed, perhaps due in part to the recurring problem of spontaneous tail loss when lizards are in stress.

Now ecological researchers have a better way of evaluating these lizards. Dr. Shai Meiri of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology has developed an improved tool for translating lizard body lengths to weights. Dr. Meiri's new equations calculate this valuable morphological feature to estimate the weight of a lizard species in a variety of different ecosystems.

"Body shape and body size are hugely important for the understanding of multiple ecological phenomena, but there is a need for a common metric to compare a multitude of different species," he says.

Building a lizard data bank

In a study published recently in the Journal of Zoology, Dr. Meiri evaluated hundreds of lizard species: long-bodied, legless species as well as stout, long-legged species; some that sit and wait for prey, others that are active foragers. Based on empirical evidence, such as well-established behavioral traits, he built a statistical model that could predict weights of lizards in a reliable, standardized manner, for use in the field or at the lab.

For the study, Dr. Meiri looked at a large sample of lizards -- 900 species in 28 different families -- and generated a dataset of lizard weights, using this dataset to develop formulae that derive body weights from the most commonly used size index for lizards (the length of the head and body, or "snout-vent length"). He then applied a species-level evolutionary hypothesis to examine the ecological factors that affect variation in weight-length relationships between different species.

Predicting post-disaster damage to the environment

How can this standardized metric protect our environment? "It can help answer how lizard species may react if there were major shifts in the availability of food due to climactic changes," he says.

In the future, zoologists will be able to use Dr. Meiri's method to better predict which communities of animals will shrink, grow or adapt to changing conditions, even after massive environmental disasters like the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Meiri. Length-weight allometries in lizards. Journal of Zoology, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2010.00696.x

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Getting a tail up on conservation? New method for measuring lizard weight from size." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901132203.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2010, September 2). Getting a tail up on conservation? New method for measuring lizard weight from size. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901132203.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Getting a tail up on conservation? New method for measuring lizard weight from size." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100901132203.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
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