The lizards seen here are all part of an adaptive radiation of Anolis lizards on the island of Hispaniola. Each species displays distinctive adaptations in body form, coloration and behavior suited to particular aspects of the microhabitat they occupy. Harvard biologist Jonathan Losos has identified six distinct habitat specialists, or ecomorphs, of Anolis: grass-bush, trunk, trunk-ground, twig, trunk-crown, and crown-giant. Five of those ecomorphs are represented here.
What makes this evolutionary radiation of Anolis lizards especially fascinating is that it is not unique to Hispaniola. In fact, it has occurred at least three times on other major islands of the Caribbean: Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. Genomic analysis has revealed that the same six ecomorphs have evolved completely independently on each of these islands through a process known as convergent evolution.