Date of Award
Invasive species can have a variety of effects on the behavior and ecology of native species. Currently in New Orleans, Louisiana, both A. sagrei and A. carolinensis lizards are relatively abundant, but the A. sagrei population is expanding rapidly. I used a combination of laboratory and field studies to investigate factors that might be influencing local dominance of invasive A. sagrei over native A. carolinensis populations, including habitat use, display behavior, interspecific aggressive interactions, and plasticity. When comparing display behavior and habitat use in anole populations across three field sites in southern Louisiana, I found differences in male display behavior of both species, and also that A. carolinensis perched higher when A. sagrei was present. In staged interspecific interactions, I discovered that A. sagrei females achieved consistently higher aggressive scores than A. carolinensis females, suggesting that female interspecific behavior is probably more important than male behavior in driving changes in habitat use. Lastly, I studied plasticity in several morphological and whole-organism performance variables by rearing males and females of each species on two different perch diameters. I found that sprinting performance in A. sagrei was significantly different between treatment groups, although the morphological differences between perch treatments were subtler than those reported in previous studies. I also found that A. carolinensis females exhibited significant differences in both sprinting and clinging performance, despite no significant differences in male or female morphology between perch size treatments, highlighting the potential for both species-specific and sex-specific plasticity.
Edwards, Jessica R., "Mechanisms of Invasion and Competition in Anolis sagrei and Anolis carolinensis lizards in southeastern Louisiana" (2017). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2376.