Scientific Correspondence

Nature 395, 556 (8 October 1998) | doi:10.1038/26886

Over-water dispersal of lizards due to hurricanes

Ellen J. Censky1, Karim Hodge2 & Judy Dudley3

The possibility and probability of over-water dispersal as a mechanism to explain the distribution of terrestrial animal species in the Caribbean has been hotly debated since the early part of this century1,2. Each theory that has been proposed — including land bridges and over-water dispersal — has involved over-water dispersal to some extent in the distribution of animals. Yet many people remain sceptical of over-water dispersal, believing that the use of rafts is improbable, unobservable and consequently untenable. Here we present evidence to support over-water dispersal as the mechanism by which green iguanas colonized Anguilla.

  1. Section of Amphibians and Reptiles, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA
    e-mail: Email: censkye@clpgh.org
  2. Anguilla National Trust, Anguilla, British West Indies
  3. National Council of the Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement, West Coast Aquatic Biology Research Laboratory, Anacortes, Washington 98221, USA