Weather-Worn Lizards Adapt To New Climates, Study Reveals

First Posted: Jan 15, 2016 03:32 PM EST

Climate change has a scandalous reputation of altering and reducing many species ability to survive and procreate. In this latest study, researchers at James Cook University have discovered that lizards which are exposed to sun light, rain and hail may have a better chance of surviving and adapting in extreme weather patterns compared to their "fair-weather cousins."

The study showed that animals which live in environmentally variable areas should be able adapt to environmental fluctuations. This new study is in contrast to Rapoport's Rule, which indicates that a species at higher latitudes with varying weather patterns would lead to the evolution of wider environmental tolerances, which then requires a larger range size.

The researchers used three species of Australian skinks to carry out their research. The results of the study showed that all three species (which were taken from regions with great temperature) had greater environmental tolerances and wider ranges, in regards to latitude and altitude.

"The literature is full of examples of species that do and don't fit Rapoport's rule," Andrew Krockenberger, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "We've shown what is important is the actual underlying mechanism - that species that can deal with a high degree of variability at a single site also end up with more extensive geographic ranges."

The findings of this study were published in Ecological Monographs.

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