anolis carolinensis


Anolis is a genus of lizards belonging to the family Iguanidae. With nearly 400 species, Anolis represents the world's most species rich amniote genus. Several species of Anolis are occasionally ascribed to the genus Norops, but the validity of the Norops genus is not widely accepted. The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) has recently become the first non-avian reptile to have its complete genome sequenced.


Anolis lizards are one of the best examples of both adaptive radiation and convergent evolution. Populations on lizards on isolated islands diverge to occupy separate ecological niches, mostly in terms of the location within the vegetation where they forage (such as in the crown of trees vs. the trunk vs. underlying shrubs). These divergences in habitat are accompanied by morphological changes primarily related to moving on the substrate diameter they most frequently encounter, with twig ecomorphs having short limbs while trunk ecomorphs have long limbs.

In addition, these patterns repeat on numerous islands, with animals in similar habitats converging on similar body forms repeatedly (Losos et al., 1998). This demonstrates that adaptive radiation can actually be predictable based on habitat encountered, and experimental introductions onto formerly lizard-free islands have proven that Anolis evolution can be predicted.

Species of genus Anolis

External Links


  • Losos, J. B., Jackman, T. R., Larson, A., de Queiroz, K., & Rodriguez-Schettino, L. (1998). Contingency and determinism in replicated adaptive radiations of island lizards. Science, 279, 2115-2118.

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