A new study headed by biologists at Washington University in St. Louis shows that Florida is an exporter of more than just fruit and star athletes.
Genetic studies performed by Washington University biologists shows that the sunshine State is the exporter of brown lizards to other countries. Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey/SOFIA
Studying genetic variation in the common brown lizard, Anolis sagrei, the researchers found that introduced populations of the lizard in five different countries can be traced back to the Sunshine State as their site of export.
The team analyzed a small region of DNA from more than 600 different individuals to get a genetic "ID card" for each lizard. The historic home for Anolis sagrei is the Caribbean, especially Cuba, where the researchers have found that there are at least eight genetically distinct groups of the lizard. In the late 1800s, Anolis sagrei was introduced (probably through a shipment of goods) to the Florida Keys, got a toehold and, after a decades-long lag, began spreading into the Florida mainland in the 1940s, most likely from separate introductions.
Tony Fitzpatrick | EurekAlert!
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