How competition affected evolution in island lizards
Washington: Millions of years before human beings began battling it out over beachfront property, a similar phenomenon was unfolding in a diverse group of island lizards.
Often mistaken for chameleons or geckos, Anolis lizards fight fiercely for resources, responding to rivals by doing push-ups and puffing out their throat pouches.
But anoles also compete in ways that shape their bodies over evolutionary time, says a new Harvard study.
Anolis lizards colonised the Caribbean from South America some 40 million years ago and quickly evolved a wide range of shapes and sizes.
"When anoles first arrived in the islands there were no other lizards quite like them, so there was abundant opportunity to diversify," said study author Luke Mahler of Harvard University.
Free from rivals in their new island homes, Anolis lizards evolved differences in leg length, body size, and other characteristics as they adapted to different habitats, said a Harvard release.
Today, the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico - collectively known as the Greater Antilles - are home to more than 100 Anolis species, ranging from lanky lizards that perch in bushes, to stocky, long-legged lizards that live on tree trunks, to foot-long `giants` that roam the upper branches of trees.
"Each body type is specialised for using different parts of a tree or bush," said Mahler.
The team`s findings are slated for publication in Evolution.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Panel discussion on BJP MLAs assaulting legislator Rashid inside J&K Assembly
- Watch: How Russian special forces Spetsnaz will end terror of ISIS
- Vladimir Putin's attack on ISIS making America and NATO nations uneasy?
- Watch: Man beheads wife; roams on streets with severed head in Pune
- Greater Noida women blames UP police for stripping off their clothes
- Latest condition of Navjot Singh Sidhu: Sherry Paaji making steady recovery!
- FIR against Asaduddin Owaisi for posting objectionable picture of Yogi Adityanath on Facebook
- Man beheads wife over suspicion of illicit relationship, walks on road with her head
- Shocking! Saudi employer chops off Indian maid's hands
- Salman Khan's songs: Best five!