Morphological variation related to habitat use between populations of Anolis poncensis (Squamata: Dactyloidae)
Evaluating the variation in habitat use, morphology and performance can tell us how species adapt to different habitats. In species of the Anolis genus morphological aspects, such as body size or snout-vent length (SVL), leg length, and the number of lamellae, can variate among species and these traits are correlated to the habitat that each species uses. The Ponce Small-Fanned Anole (Anolis poncensis) is an endemic lizard species of Puerto Rico that inhabits scant grassy areas and rocky terrain in the dry and semidry southern coast of Puerto Rico. Recently we have observed that populations of this species are using different habitat types. The objective of this study was to determine if variation in used habitat can reflect a morphological variation among populations. Two sites were studied, one was a grassland at the Fish and Wildlife Refuge in the municipality of Cabo Rojo and the other was a mangrove area at the Punta Cucharas Refuge in Ponce. At each site 10 adult males where measured (SVL, leg length and lamellae number) and structural habitat data (perch height, perch diameter) was recorded. Anoles are different in body size (p = 0.0009) and number of lamellae (p = 0.015) among the two populations. For leg length (p > 0.05), no significant difference were observed between the two populations even when a significant difference was found for the perch diameter (p = 0.0004) among study sites. This significant difference in body size and number of lamellae tell us that there is a morphological variation among the two populations. But nevertheless, we can't confirm that this morphological variation is attributed to the difference in structural habitat use due to that there was no significant difference in leg length between the two populations.