Hangin’ on in the wind: Natural selection, hurricanes, and lizards

by Greg Mayer At the Anolis Symposium at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in March, one of the stars of the show was Colin Donihue of Harvard University, who gave a talk on the effect of last fall’s Hurricane Irma on Anolis scriptus, the endemic (and only native) anole of the Turks and Caicos. Colin and […]

The horror, ctd.

by Greg Mayer We’ve had occasion previously to note some dastardly beings that eat lizards, and express dismay at their foul deeds. And now, thanks to Matthew, we have another opportunity to engage in a two minutes hate towards a transgressor. That’s a wasp spider (Argiope bruennichi), a recent invader of Great Britain from the […]

Moar on lizards eating fruit

by Greg Mayer I’ve previously noted a recent paper about fruit eating lizards that wind up as bird fodder. Fortunately, the cases I’m about to relate here don’t end tragically in an avian maw. The lizards that I study, anoles, are primarily insectivorous, but eat a modest amount of meat and fruit as well. I’ve […]

The horror

by Greg Mayer Lizards, as Grace Slick used to say, are the crown of creation. It thus is always a sadness to learn that horrible, predatory birds are eating them. And, what’s more, it turns out that seeds in the lizards’ stomachs wind up in the birds’ stomachs, which then eject the seeds in their […]

Live-bearing lizards

by Greg Mayer One of the standard things we learn about animals are their modes of reproduction: budding, egg-laying, live-bearing, etc. And one of the standard things we “know” about modes of reproduction is that mammals are live-bearing, and reptiles lay eggs. Neither of these things we “know” is true, though– they are generalities, with […]

Burrowin’ lizards, Batman!

by Greg Mayer       (Update below) Lizards are far and away the most species-rich group of living reptiles, with over 7000 species. One of the first things you learn if you’re a little boy interested in such creatures is that snakes are lizards. One of the other things you learn is that snakes […]

Why is sex good?

by Greg Mayer And by sex, I mean, of course, “… the union (SYNGAMY) of two genomes, usually carried by gametes, followed some time later by REDUCTION, ordinarily by the process of meiosis and gametogenesis” (Futuyma, 2009:388). Most of the organisms we know and love– oak trees, lobsters, goldfish, cats–  reproduce sexually. But a few […]

Hybridization and parthenogenesis in whiptail lizards

by Greg Mayer Not much in the way of culinary pleasures here. (Although Jerry’s piece on the Inquisition killed my appetite, anyway). Reader Pete Moulton asked for some references on hybridization and parthenogenesis in whiptail lizards (Cnemidophorus [or Aspidoscelis] and related teiid lizards), in particular C. (A.) uniparens. A. uniparens is a triploid unisexual. It […]

That lizard was delicious– what kind was it?

by Greg Mayer That’s more or the less the question Ngo Van Tri, a Vietnamese herpetologist, must have asked himself after having a meal like that shown below, which surely rivals anything Jerry’s had in Colombia. Tri contacted Lee Grismer of La Sierra University and his son Jesse Grismer, a graduate student at Villanova University, […]