Evaporative water loss in insular populations of the Anolis cristatellus group (Reptilia: Sauria) in the British Virgin Islands II: The effects of drought

Gad Perry, Razi Dmi'el, James Lazell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous work has shown that water loss in some populations of Anolis cristatellus from the British Virgin Islands is closely tied to the conditions available on the islands they inhabit. This manifested itself in a strong correlation between habitat aridity and several water loss rate parameters. Here we report on a similar study conducted in the same locations in 994, a year of extreme drought. We hypothesized that lizards caught at the height of the drought will experience lower rates of water loss than those measured during a normal year. Our findings show that in 1994, as in 1993, habitat aridity and water loss parameters were strongly correlated. Also as before, the Guana Island population of A. cristatellus displayed higher resistance to water loss than expected by the island's aridity. However, a striking change occurred within populations. All were at least as good at retaining water (measured as integumentary resistance to water loss, R) as in 1993, and some were over 3.5 times better. Existing evidence is insufficient to determine whether these changes were the result of phenotypic plasticity or attributable to differential mortality of nonresistant individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-343
Number of pages7
JournalBiotropica
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

Keywords

  • Anolis cristatellus
  • Anolis ernestwilliamsi
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Differential mortality
  • Evaporative water loss
  • Habitat aridity
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Tropical islands

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