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Evolution. 2003 Oct;57(10):2383-97.

Phylogenetic analysis of ecological and morphological diversification in Hispaniolan trunk-ground anoles (Anolis cybotes group).

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Department of Biology, Campus Box 1137, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899, USA.


Anolis lizards in the Greater Antilles partition the structural microhabitats available at a given site into four to six distinct categories. Most microhabitat specialists, or ecomorphs, have evolved only once on each island, yet closely related species of the same ecomorph occur in different geographic macrohabitats across the island. The extent to which closely related species of the same ecomorph have diverged to adapt to different geographic macrohabitats is largely undocumented. On the island of Hispaniola, members of the Anolis cybotes species group belong to the trunk-ground ecomorph category. Despite evolutionary stability of their trunk-ground microhabitat, populations of the A. cybotes group have undergone an evolutionary radiation associated with geographically distinct macrohabitats. A combined phylogeographic and morphometric study of this group reveals a strong association between macrohabitat type and morphology independent of phylogeny. This association results from long-term morphological evolutionary stasis in populations associated with mesic-forest environments (A. c. cybotes and A. marcanoi) and predictable morphometric changes associated with entry into new macrohabitat types (i.e., xeric forests, high-altitude pine forest, rock outcrops). Phylogeographic analysis of 73 new mitochondrial DNA sequences (1921 aligned sites) sampled from 68 geographic populations representing 12 recognized species and subspecies diagnoses 16 allopatric or parapatric groupings of populations differing from each other by 5-18% sequence divergence. At least some of these groupings appear to have attained species-level divergence from others. Evolutionary specialization to different macrohabitat types may be a major factor in the evolutionary diversification of Greater Antillean anoles.

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