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Plasticity and evolutionary convergence in the locomotor skeleton of greater antillean anolis lizards


Feiner, N and Jackson, ISC and Munch, KL and Radersma, R and Uller, T, Plasticity and evolutionary convergence in the locomotor skeleton of greater antillean anolis lizards, eLife, 9 pp. 1-47. ISSN 2050-084X (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Bradshaw et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.7554/ELIFE.57468


Plasticity can put evolution on repeat if development causes species to generate similar morphologies in similar environments. Anolis lizards offer the opportunity to put this role of developmental plasticity to the test. Following colonization of the four Greater Antillean islands, Anolis lizards independently and repeatedly evolved six ecomorphs adapted to manoeuvring different microhabitats. By quantifying the morphology of the locomotor skeleton of 95 species, we demonstrate that ecomorphs on different islands have diverged along similar trajectories. However, microhabitat-induced morphological plasticity differed between species and did not consistently improve individual locomotor performance. Consistent with this decoupling between morphological plasticity and locomotor performance, highly plastic features did not show greater evolvability, and plastic responses to microhabitat were poorly aligned with evolutionary divergence between ecomorphs. The locomotor skeleton of Anolis may have evolved within a subset of possible morphologies that are highly accessible through genetic change, enabling adaptive convergence independently of plasticity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:developmental plasticity, phenotypic plasticity, perch diameter, measurement error, R packages, quamata, morphology, hindlimb, polyphenism, invasion
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Population ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Munch, KL (Ms Kirke Munch)
UTAS Author:Uller, T (Dr Tobias Uller)
ID Code:152229
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Strategic Research Funding
Deposited On:2022-08-15
Last Modified:2022-09-19
Downloads:11 View Download Statistics

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