Multiple paths to aquatic specialisation in four species of Central American Anolis lizards

Martha M. Muñoz, Kristen E. Crandell, Shane C. Campbell-Staton, Kristi Fenstermacher, Hannah K. Frank, Paul Van Middlesworth, Mahmood Sasa, Jonathan B. Losos, Anthony Herrel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1717-1730
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Natural History
Issue number27-28
StatePublished - Jul 26 2015


  • Anolis
  • adaptation
  • aquatic lizard
  • ecomorph
  • functional morphology


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