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Data from: Diversifying selection and color-biased dispersal in the asp viper

Cite this dataset

Dubey, Sylvain et al. (2015). Data from: Diversifying selection and color-biased dispersal in the asp viper [Dataset]. Dryad.


Background: The presence of intraspecific color polymorphism can have multiple impacts on the ecology of a species; as a consequence, particular color morphs may be strongly selected for in a given habitat type. For example, the asp viper (Vipera aspis) shows a high level of color polymorphism. A blotched morph (cryptic) is common throughout its range (central and western Europe), while a melanistic morph is frequently found in montane populations, presumably for thermoregulatory reasons. Besides, rare atypical uniformly colored individuals are known here and there. Nevertheless, we found in a restricted treeless area of the French Alps, a population containing a high proportion (>50%) of such specimens. The aim of the study is to bring insight into the presence and function of this color morph by (i) studying the genetic structure of these populations using nine microsatellite markers, and testing for (ii) a potential local diversifying selection and (iii) differences in dispersal capacity between blotched and non-blotched vipers. Results: Our genetic analyses support the occurrence of local diversifying selection for the non-blotched phenotype. In addition, we found significant color-biased dispersal, blotched individuals dispersing more than atypical individuals. Conclusion: We hypothesize that, in this population, the non-blotched phenotype possess an advantage over the typical one, a phenomenon possibly due to a better background matching ability in a more open habitat. In addition, color-biased dispersal might be partly associated with the observed local diversifying selection, as it can affect the genetic structure of populations, and hence the distribution of color morphs.

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