Get access

Influence of geography and climate on patterns of cell size and body size in the lizard Anolis carolinensis


Correspondence: Rachel M. Goodman, Biology Department, Box 74, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943, USA. Email:


Geographic patterns in body size are often associated with latitude, elevation, or environmental and climatic variables. This study investigated patterns of body size and cell size of the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, and potential associations with geography or climatic variables. Lizards were sampled from 19 populations across the native range, and body size, red blood cell size and size and number of muscle cells were measured. Climatic data from local weather stations and latitude and longitude were entered into model selection with Akaike's information criterion to explain patterns in cell and body sizes. Climatic variables did not drive any major patterns in cell size or body size; rather, latitude and longitude were the best predictors of cell and body size. In general, smaller body and cell sizes in Florida anoles drove geographic patterns in A. carolinensis. Small size in Florida may be attributable to the geological history of the peninsular state or the unique ecological factors in this area, including a recently introduced congener. In contrast to previous studies, we found that A. carolinensis does not follow Bergmann's rule when the influence of Florida is excluded. Rather, the opposite pattern of larger lizards in southern populations is evident in the absence of Florida populations, and mirrors the general pattern in squamates. Muscle cell size was negatively related to latitude and red blood cell size showed no latitudinal trend outside of Florida. Different patterns in the sizes of the 2 cell types confirm the importance of examining multiple cell types when studying geographic variation in cell size.