Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Biodiversity in Lizards
While learning how organisms interact with their environment, Martha Munoz discovered two species of Anole lizards in the Dominican Republic. Some lizards were found closer to sea level and they were most often spotted clinging to a cool tree. The other lizards were commonly found living in the mountains and instead of looking for ways to cool off they splayed out onto rocks to warm themselves with the sun. In her findings she shared that though their bone structures and obviously behavior was vastly different they still shared a similar heat tolerance.
Later while studying in Australia she researched more lizards, some with low heat tolerance and others with a higher heat tolerance. It is very interesting to note too that the two species of lizards swapped their behaviors. She stated that "behavior, morphology, and physiology are constantly in a delicate evolutionary dance". The "once-sun-loving species' heat tolerance dipped" predictably due to them hiding in the shade, whereas the former shade lovers are now those who are found in the sun.
Munoz did much more research on these lizards and how they came to be two separate species. As many things in genetics prove to be, the phenomenon that these lizards will dance back and forth between heat loving and shade loving is truly an enigma. As her and her team continue to study these amazing animals and the ways they tolerate heat I am sure they will discover many fascinating things about not only lizards, but all reptiles.