The green thing on the left doesn’t look like a real anole to me. But apparently it’s convincing enough to both predators and other anoles, because both attack them, as evident by the bite marks they leave on these clay doppellizards. McMillan and Irschick deployed these faux lizards in trees in two areas in New Orleans, on the Tulane campus and in a wilder area outside of town. In the wild area, the models had bites marks clearly identifiable as belonging to lizard jaws (photo on right), and others that were from birds or other presumed predators. By contrast, perhaps not surprisingly, on the lovely grounds of Tulane, models were bitten by anoles, but not by predators. Also not surprisingly, there were no bites of any kind in either locality in the winter, and many more in the spring and fall. You might say to yourself: maybe lizards and predators just like to bite clay or anything new that shows up in their environment. How do we know that they actually thought they were attacking a lizard? Well, we don’t, of course, but the researchers did put out cubes made of the same material, and none of these were attacked, which lends some credence to the possibility that these models, cartoonish as they seem, may have passed for the real thing. McMillan and Irschick, following others, suggest that these models may serve as a proxy for levels of predation and intraspecific aggression.
- Anole Annals is written and edited by scientists who study Anolis lizards. Our goal is to disseminate new scientific research, natural history anecdotes, and a wide range of other anole-related information. To find posts on a particular topic, type a key word into the search box.
- New blog post! Do Hurricanes Rock Lizards Harder in the City? : Kevin Aviles-Rodriguez : wp.me/p2379Y-9ns #scicomm 1 week ago
- New blog post! Pitcher Plant Devours Adult Green Anole : Jonathan Losos : wp.me/p2379Y-9nn #scicomm 2 weeks ago
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