Brown anole (Anolis sagrei) adhesive forces remain unaffected by partial claw clipping

Austin M. Garner, Stephanie M. Lopez, Peter H. Niewiarowski


Morphological properties of animal locomotor systems should reflect costs and benefits associated with particular environments. Lizards that possess both claws and adhesive toe pads are specialized for environments that require movements in both the horizontal and vertical planes, and on both rough and smooth substrates. Although toe/claw clipping is a common technique for marking free-ranging lizards, this technique is disadvantageous to those lizards possessing adhesive toe pads. A previous study removed entire claws of Anolis carolinensis and observed a significant reduction in adhesive abilities, which was likely attributed to damage of underlying tendons that play critical roles in engaging the adhesive pads. Here, we report on the clinging ability of brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) with partial claw removal. We found that adhesive capacities were not affected by partial removal of the claw, suggesting that partial claw removal prevents damage to the underlying tendons and that it may be a safer alternative for short-term marking of adhesive pad-bearing lizards.

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