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Hurricanes twist evolution in island lizards

Source: phys.org

Hold that thought: A good grip can mean the difference between life and death for lizards in a hurricane—and as a result, populations hit more frequently by hurricanes have larger toepads.

A new study from Washington University in St. Louis is the first to demonstrate evolutionary response to hurricanes on a wide geographic scale. The research is published the week of April 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Lizard groups that more frequently experience hurricanes evolve larger toepads than those that experience relatively fewer hurricanes, according to a new analysis that spans 12 island populations of Anolis sagrei lizards and, separately, 188 Anolis species with ranges from Florida to Brazil. MORE

Header image: Anolis scriptus, the Turks and Caicos anole, on Pine Cay. Credit: Colin Donihue, Washington University in St. Louis

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