Aquatic anoles present an interesting ecomorphological puzzle. On the one hand, the link between habitat use and morphology is well established as convergent within the Caribbean anole radiation. On the other hand, aquatic anoles do not appear to form an ecomorphological group – rather, it appears that there may be several ways to adapt to aquatic habitats. We explore this issue by examining the ecology, morphology and performance of four species of Central American aquatic anoles belonging to two different lineages. Overall, we find that aquatic anoles overlap in multiple ecological and morphological dimensions. However, we do find some differences in substrate use, claw and limb morphology, and bite force that distinguish Anolis aquaticus from the other three species (A. lionotus, A. oxylophus and A. poecilopus). Our results suggest that A. aquaticus is adapted to climb on boulders, whereas the other species utilise vegetation in streamside habitats.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- aquatic lizard
- functional morphology