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Video From the Field: Anolemageddon!

National Geographic Young Explorer Neil Losin is a biologist, photographer, and filmmaker pursuing his Ph.D. in UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Neil studies the evolution of territoriality in invasive Anolis lizards in South Florida

Meet the Contenders

I’ve spent the last three months in Miami, studying lizards in the genus Anolis. I study the ways that closely related species interact, and how their interactions affect each species’ ecology and evolution.

Anoles in Florida are a great study system for addressing my research questions. They’re common, fiercely territorial, and they’ve been the subject of evolutionary and ecological research for decades. In South Florida, several exotic species have recently become established alongside the native green anole (Anolis carolinensis), so there are plenty of species interactions to observe.

I’ve chosen to focus on two Caribbean lizards with very similar habits. The Brown Anole of Cuba (Anolis sagrei) and the Crested Anole of Puerto Rico (Anolis cristatellus) have only been living together in South Florida for a few decades. My goal is to understand how these species manage to coexist, despite the potential for competition.

 

The Battle at Hand

One of my goals this season is to figure out just how intensely the two species compete in nature. How can I accomplish this? Well, one way to determine the effect that one species has on another is to perform a “removal experiment,” removing one species and observing what happens to individuals of the other species. Do their territories get larger? Does the way they use the habitat change? Do they catch more prey, or grow faster?

These experiments take a lot of work! We have to mark lots of individuals so we can keep track of them throughout the experiment, then observe each anole carefully before and after the “removal” occurs. This short video reveals my removal experiment and shows how–with the help of some excellent field assistants–I’m making it happen.

Comments

  1. derek
    burnsville
    February 1, 1:29 pm

    reptiles are awesom i have a 6′ iguana best pet i ever had his name is BAM BAM. potty trained i love him hes great he roams yhe house no cage a part of my family

  2. christopher
    mclaren vale
    October 22, 2013, 6:06 am

    I realy like lizards so that film was realy good i hope i see the resaults.

  3. otisa
    March 1, 2013, 9:15 am

    i love animals

  4. otisa
    flint
    March 1, 2013, 9:15 am

    i love animals so much i cant live without them

  5. Taylor woody
    North carolina
    November 1, 2012, 11:24 am

    This helps me alot on my project in school about reptiles :)

  6. [...] Click here to read full article at http://www.nationalgeographic.com [...]

  7. Terry
    Branson Mo.
    July 1, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I had a light smokey grey snake with a light yellow belly, an it was moving. Its head was up an also alittle of its body. Its head was hooded an something on the hood. It has been 2 years and I still dont know what it was. Please someone let me know.

  8. Deepu Joshi
    Bageshwar
    February 24, 2012, 8:35 pm

    Realy it is very interesting.I live it.

  9. remalo
    windhoek
    November 24, 2011, 2:13 pm

    like your movies

  10. faheem
    September 7, 2011, 6:07 pm

    whats up homes I like your stuff

  11. Anna Luisa
    Miracatu-Brazil
    September 1, 2011, 5:55 pm

    This is realy interesting, because usualy thy just show us how the animal are, and here I can see how they can differ the animals! I love it :D