Data from: Phenotypic shifts in urban areas in the tropical lizard Anolis cristatellus
Winchell, Kristin M. et al. (2016), Data from: Phenotypic shifts in urban areas in the tropical lizard Anolis cristatellus, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.h234n
Urbanization is an important dimension of global change, and urban areas impose significant natural selection on species within them. Although many species persist in urban areas, little research has investigated whether populations have adapted to urbanization. Even less work has considered tropical regions, which have recently experienced dramatic urban growth. In the present study we focused on the neotropical lizard, Anolis cristatellus. We tested whether lizard ecology and morphology differ between urban and natural areas in Puerto Rico. We found that environmental conditions differ dramatically between urban and natural areas. We also found that lizards in urban areas frequently use artificial substrates, and that these substrates are broader than substrates in natural forest. Finally our morphological data showed that lizards in urban areas have longer limbs and more subdigital lamellae compared to lizards from forested habitats. This shift in phenotype is in the direction predicted based on habitat differences between urban and natural sites, combined with results on how lizards use substrates in these areas. Findings from common garden rearing provide evidence that trait differences may be genetically based. Our data suggest anoles in urban areas are under significant natural selection and may be adapting to human-modified environments.