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
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  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