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Meeting Abstract

4-7   09:45 - 10:00  Uptown Lizard: Examining morphology and performance of an introduced urban lizard, Podarcis muralis Vaughn, PL*; Colwell, C; Livingston, E; McQueen, W; Pettit, C; Spears, S; Tuhela-Reuning, L; Gangloff, EJ; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University

Structural habitat impacts a species’ ability to perform vital tasks such as running, climbing, or clinging. Urbanization alters existing landscapes and provides excellent habitat for certain organisms, such as the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. The success of this species can be examined through morphology-performance relationships. To test the functional importance of morphological variation and how morphological traits shift in response to novel urban environments, we first measured escape distance, speed, and substrate use of fleeing lizards from several urban populations. We then conducted laboratory measures of climbing and clinging performance on materials which mimic substrates that P. muralis are likely to encounter in nature. Each individual (N = 32) was tested for climbing performance on two substrates (cork and turf) and clinging performance on three substrates (cork, turf, and sandpaper). Trials were performed at two temperatures, 24°C and 34°C, to disentangle the relative influences of morphology and temperature-dependent physiology on performance. In addition to gross morphological characteristics, we utilized Scanning Electron Microscopy to obtain high-resolution images of a claw from each individual, as well as from museum specimens collected in the 1980s. From these images, we quantified size and shape with geometric morphometrics. The claws were strikingly unique, exhibiting variation in size, shape, and wear. We then tested the influence of whole-organism morphology, claw dimensions, and temperature on clinging and climbing performance. Further, we compared morphological measures of contemporary lizards to those of museum specimens to test for shifts in these traits over several decades of invasion. These results provide insight into how some species survive and even thrive in novel environments, including cities.