Military flights prompt stressed lizards to eat more

Helicopter noise affects the behavior of all-female hybrid whiptail species

A species of whiptail lizards may eat more due to the stress of noisy military flights. Colorado checkered whiptail (Aspidoscelis neotesselata) lizards, an all-female species that reproduces asexually, are only found in the southeastern corner of Colorado, including land occupied by the U.S. Army’s Fort Carson base. Researchers took blood samples of lizards after helicopters flew over them and found that they had higher levels of stress hormones. Their observations also showed that these lizards moved less and ate more, likely to compensate for the loss in energy caused by the extra stress. “Understanding the implications of these adaptations is really important if we’re truly to understand the consequences,” Tracey Langkilde, a biology professor at Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the research study, told CNN.

Read more at CNN.

Header Image: Helicopter flights over Colorado checkered whiptail lizards could be stressful to lizards. Credit: Carina Kusaka