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Chemical communication, sexual selection, and introgression in wall lizards


MacGregor, HEA and Lewandowsky, RAM and d'Ettorre, P and Leroy, C and Davies, NW and While, GM and Uller, T, Chemical communication, sexual selection, and introgression in wall lizards, Evolution, 71, (10) pp. 2327-2343. ISSN 1558-5646 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 The Author(s). Evolution Copyright 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution

DOI: doi:10.1111/evo.13317


Divergence in communication systems should influence the likelihood that individuals from different lineages interbreed, and consequently shape the direction and rate of hybridization. Here, we studied the role of chemical communication in hybridization, and its contribution to asymmetric and sexually selected introgression, between two lineages of the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). Males of the two lineages differed in the chemical composition of their femoral secretions. Chemical profiles provided information regarding male secondary sexual characters, but the associations were variable and inconsistent between lineages. In experimental contact zones, chemical composition was weakly associated with male reproductive success, and did not predict the likelihood of hybridization. Consistent with these results, introgression of chemical profiles in a natural hybrid zone resembled that of neutral nuclear genetic markers overall, but one compound in particular (tocopherol methyl ether) matched closely the introgression of visual sexual characters. These results imply that associations between male chemical profiles, sexual characters and reproductive success largely reflect transient and environmentally driven effects, and that genetic divergence in chemical composition is largely neutral. We therefore suggest that femoral secretions in wall lizards primarily provide information about residency and individual identity rather than function as sexual signals.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:femoral pores, hybrid zone, hybridization, pheromones, olfaction
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Evolutionary biology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:MacGregor, HEA (Ms Hannah MacGregor)
UTAS Author:Lewandowsky, RAM (Ms Rachel Lewandowsky)
UTAS Author:Davies, NW (Associate Professor Noel Davies)
UTAS Author:While, GM (Dr Geoff While)
ID Code:119259
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-07-28
Last Modified:2018-05-08

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