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Meeting Abstract

111-6   14:45 - 15:00  Repeated evolution of non-wettable skin surfaces in semi-aquatic lizards Baeckens, S*; Temmerman, M; Gorb, SN; Neto, C; Whiting, MJ; Van Damme, R; University of Antwerp, Belgium; University of Antwerp, Belgium; Kiel University, Germany; The University of Sydney, Australia; Macquarie University, Australia; University of Antwerp, Belgium

Animals that habitually cross the boundary between water and land face specific challenges with respect to locomotion, respiration, insulation, fouling, and waterproofing. Many semi-aquatic invertebrates have developed complex surface microstructures with water-repellent properties to overcome these problems, but equivalent adaptations of the skin are rare for vertebrates that encounter similar environmental challenges. In our study, we document the first evidence of evolutionary convergence of hydrophobic structured skin in a group of semi-aquatic lizards. We show that the skin surface of semi-aquatic Anolis species is characterized by a different, more elaborate, microstructural architecture and a lower wettability relative to closely related terrestrial species. In addition, phylogenetic comparative models reveal repeated independent evolution of enhanced skin hydrophobicity associated with the transition to a semi-aquatic lifestyle, providing evidence of adaptation.