Caribbean Anolis lizards exhibit a complex suite of ecological, morphological, and behavioral traits that allow their specialization to particular microhabitats. These microhabitat specialists, called ecomorphs, have independently evolved on the four islands of the Greater Antilles, and diversification among anole ecomorphs has been the focus of many studies. Yet, habitat specialization has also occurred among species within the same ecomorph group. Here, we examined ecological, morphological, and behavioral divergence in three Hispaniolan trunk-ground species, the cybotoid anoles: Anolis cybotes, A. marcanoi, and A. longitibialis. We found differences in limb morphology, locomotor behavior, and perch use among the three cybotoid species that mirror differences across the ecomorphs. Among these species of cybotoids, those that have longer limbs tend to move less frequently, occupy broader perches, and have smaller fourth toes with fewer lamellae. We also observed that the species with greater male-biased size dimorphism had larger heads, smaller dewlaps, and smaller testes. These results are consistent with the predictions of sexual selection theory, in that species with large male body size may have larger heads because of increased male-male combat, and smaller testes potentially attributable to a trade-off between pre- and postcopulatory selection. Overall, our study suggests that a combination of local adaptation to different structural habitats and sexual selection might produce ecomorphological diversification within cybotoid anoles of the same ecomorph group.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Allen Press, Inc.
Kahrl, A.F., Ivanov, B.M., Wollenberg Valero, K.C., & Johnson, M.A. (2018). Ecomorphological variation in three species of cubotoid anoles. Herpetologica, 74(1), 29-37. doi:10.1655/Herpetologica-D-17-00040