Ecomorphology links microhabitat and morphology. By comparing ecomorphological associations across clades, we can investigate the extent to which evolution can produce similar solutions in response to similar challenges. While Anolis lizards represent a well-studied example of repeated convergent evolution, very few studies have investigated the ecomorphology of geckos. Similar to anoles, gekkonid lizards have independently evolved adhesive toe pads and many species are scansorial. We quantified gecko and anole limb length and microhabitat use, finding that geckos tend to have shorter limbs than anoles. Combining these measurements with microhabitat observations of geckos in Queensland, Australia, we observed geckos using similar microhabitats as reported for anoles, but geckos with relatively longer limbs were using narrower perches, differing from patterns observed in anoles and other lizards. We also observed arboreal geckos with relatively shorter proximal limb segments as compared to rock-dwelling and terrestrial geckos, similar to patterns observed for other lizards. We conclude that although both geckos and anoles have adhesive pads and use similar microhabitats, their locomotor systems likely complement their adhesive pads in unique ways and result in different ecomorphological patterns, reinforcing the idea that species with convergent morphologies still have idiosyncratic characteristics due to their own separate evolutionary histories.
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Hagey, Travis J.; Hart, Scott; Vickers, Matthew; Harmon, Luke J.; and Schwarzkopf, Lin, "There’s More than One Way to Climb a Tree: Limb Length and Microhabitat Use in Lizards with Toe Pads" (2017). Biology. 5.