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ILAR J. 2004;45(1):54-64.

The green anole (Anolis carolinensis): a reptilian model for laboratory studies of reproductive morphology and behavior.

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  • 1Neuroscience Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.


The green anol (Anolis carolinensis) is an excellent reptilian model for studying reproductive behavior and the neural and muscular morphology that supports it. This lizard has been the subject of behavioral and ecological study for more than 100 yr, and a rich literature exists on its natural history. Both courtship and copulatory behaviors reveal sex and seasonal differences, which allow for the study of mechanisms regulation naturally occurring variation in performance at multiple levels within a single animal model. Green anoles are readily obtained due to their abundance in the wild; once in the laboratory, they are easily maintained, bred, and reared. Background on the natural history and husbandry of this lizard is provided, and the authors' research program on the regulation of reproductive anatomy and behavior is reviewed, Discussion includes the similarities and differences in the mechanisms mediating both structure and function compared with more traditional animal models. This type of comparative research will make it possible to identify the fundamental principles governing reproductive biology, thus advancing both basic and applied knowledge.

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