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Green anole (Anolis carolinensis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Iguania
Family: Dactyloidae
Genus: Anolis
Daudin, 1802

ca. 370 spp., see text

Anolis is a genus of lizards belonging to the family Dactyloidae. With nearly 400 species, Anolis represents the world's most species-rich amniote genus[citation needed]. 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 reptile to have its complete genome sequenced.[1]


Anolis lizards are some of the best examples of both adaptive radiation and convergent evolution. Populations of 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).[2] 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.[3][2] This demonstrates adaptive radiation can actually be predictable based on habitat encountered, and experimental introductions onto formerly lizard-free islands have proven Anolis evolution can be predicted.[4][5][6][7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anolis Genome Sequencing Project, Broad Institute
  2. ^ a b Losos, J.B. (2007). Detective work in the West Indies: integrating historical and experimental approaches to study island lizard evolution. BioScience 57:585-597.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Calsbeek, R. (2008). Experimental evidence that competition and habitat use shape the individual fitness surface. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22:97-108.
  5. ^ Calsbeek, R., W. Buermann, and T.B. Smith. (2009). Parallel shifts in ecology and natural selection in an island lizard. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9:3.
  6. ^ Calsbeek, R., and R.M. Cox. (2010). Experimentally assessing the relative importance of predation and competition as agents of selection. Nature 465:613-616.
  7. ^ Calsbeek, R., and T.B. Smith. (2007). Probing the adaptive landscape using experimental islands: density-dependent natural selection on lizard body size. Evolution 61:1052-1061.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Anole Annals, a blog written and edited by scientists who study Anolis lizards
  • Anolis, The Reptile Database
  • Adapting Anolis, short film on adaptations of Cuba's Anolis lizards