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Water loss, desiccation tolerance, and survival under desiccating conditions in 11 species of Caribbean Anolis

Evolutionary and ecological implications

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  1. 1.

    Rates of water loss and tolerance to desiccation were examined in 11 species of Caribbean Anolis and the Sonoran desert iguanid lizard, Urosaurus ornatus.

  2. 2.

    Rates of water loss ranged from 0.07% body wt/h (A. bonairensis) to 0.43% body wt/h (A. distichus).

  3. 3.

    There were significant correlations between habitat rainfall and both the rates of water loss (P<0.005) and the maximum time of survival (LTmax) (P<0.01) for the 11 species of Anolis. Species from areas of low rainfall generally had lower rates of water loss and survived longer than species from areas of high rainfall.

  4. 4.

    There was no correlation between habitat rainfall and the ability to withstand desiccation; therefore differences in LTmax are probably the result of differences in rates of water loss.

  5. 5.

    Rates of water loss did not significantly correlate with either structural niche or ecomorphic category.

  6. 6.

    Since rates of water loss varied to a large degree within closely related species groups, there is apparently little phylogenetic inertia for this physiologic parameter.

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Hillman, S.S., Gorman, G.C. Water loss, desiccation tolerance, and survival under desiccating conditions in 11 species of Caribbean Anolis . Oecologia 29, 105–116 (1977).

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