When Dr. Manuel Leal removed lizards from an area in the forest, he noticed an interesting phenomenon: all the lizards seemed to be back the next day. Watch as he sets up an experiment to study how these lizards navigate home. Also available in Spanish.
Anole lizards are highly territorial and typically stick close to their home tree. So, what happens when you carry them far away into the forest? Will they find their way back? Dr. Manuel Leal and colleagues designed an experiment to find out. They displaced trunk-ground anoles 80 meters away from their home territories and then tracked their movements through the dense forest using radio transmitters. Most of the lizards were able to orient themselves and head in the right direction, with some making a beeline back to their original tree in less than 24 hours!
So, how did they do it? Dr. Leal would like to know too. He has tested a couple of common mechanisms other species use to navigate, by sensing Earth’s magnetic fields and detecting polarized light, but with no success. If you have any suggestions for how to test the anoles’ homing abilities, Dr. Leal would like to hear from you at email@example.com.