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No evidence of predicted phenotypic changes after hurricane disturbance in a shade-specialist Caribbean anole

Cite this dataset

Acevedo, Miguel (2022). No evidence of predicted phenotypic changes after hurricane disturbance in a shade-specialist Caribbean anole [Dataset]. Dryad.


Extreme climatic events (ECE) such as hurricanes have been hypothesized to be a major driving force of natural selection. Recent studies argue that, following strong hurricane disturbance, Anolis lizards in the Caribbean undergo selection for traits such as longer forelimbs or smaller body sizes that improve their clinging ability to their substrates increasing their chances of surviving hurricane wind gusts. Some authors challenge the generalization of this hypothesis arguing that other mechanisms may explain these phenotypic changes or that they may not necessarily be generalizable due to system-specific idiosyncrasies. To address this issue, we compared body size and relative forelimb length of Anolis gundlachi, a trunk-ground anole living in closed canopy forests in Puerto Rico, before, four months after, and 15 months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Overall, our results show no clear evidence of a temporal decrease in body size or increase forelimb length (relative to body size) challenging the generalizability of the clinging ability hypothesis. Understanding how animals adapt to ECE is an emerging field. Still, we are quickly learning that this process is complex and nuanced.


We captured individuals of Anolis gundlachi around the main trails of the LFDP (e.g., Otero et al. 2019; See Appendix 1 for more sampling details).  We restricted our analyses to adult individuals (> 40 mm SVL). We also measured the diameter at breast height (DBH) of the substrate where lizards were caught. We quantified svl using a clear ruler, limb size using a caliper, weight using a pesola, and DBH using a DBH tape measure.

Usage notes

date: month, date, year

uid: unique id for each individual

svl: snouth-to-vent length in mm

dbh: diameter at breast height in cm

sex: females (f), males (m)

spp: species, all Anolis gundlachi

Sample: Season when data was collected

f1: limb size corresponding to the radius/ulna in mm

f2: limb size corresponding to humerus in mm

weight: lizard weight in g


National Science Foundation, Award: 1754401

National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Award: 1022478