• ecomorphology;
  • pedal grasping;
  • tendons;
  • muscles;
  • bones


Ecomorphological studies of lizards have explored the role of various morphological traits and how these may be associated with, among other things, habitat use. We present an analysis of selected traits of internal morphology of the hind limbs of Neotropical iguanian lizards and their relationship to habitat use. Considering that one of the most widely-held hypotheses relating to the origin of grasping is associated with the exploitation of the narrow-branch arboreal habitat, we include subdivisions of this designation as two of our ecologically defined categories of habitat exploitation for analysis, and compare lizards assigned to these categories to the features displayed by terrestrial lizards. The influence of phylogeny in shaping the morphology of lizards was assessed by using the comparative method. K values were significant for several osteological traits. Most of the K values for the variables based upon muscle and tendon morphometric characters (13 out 21), by contrast, had values <1, suggesting that their variation cannot be explained by phylogeny alone. Results of our phylogenetic and conventional ANCOVA analyses reveal that the characters highlighted through the application of the comparative method are not absolutely related to habitat in terms of the categories considered here. It appears that the bauplan of the lizard pes incorporates a morphological configuration that is sufficiently versatile to enable exploitation of almost all of the available habitats. As unexpected as conservation of internal gross morphology appears, it represents a means of accommodating to environmental challenges by apparently permitting adequacy for all situations examined. Anat Rec, 297:397–409, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.