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 September 23, 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 September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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