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Ontogeny, phylogeny, and mechanisms of adaptive changes in evaporative water loss in geckos

Citation

Starostova, Zuzana; Hluben, Martin; Kratochvil, Lukas; Gvozdik, Lumir (2021), Ontogeny, phylogeny, and mechanisms of adaptive changes in evaporative water loss in geckos, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0zpc866xq

Abstract

Body-size dependence of metabolic rate, body surface and scale morphology complicate disentangling the contribution of these characteristics to adaptive changes in total evaporative water loss (TEWL) of reptiles. To separate adaptive changes from size-related dependence, we compared intra- and interspecific scaling of several candidate traits in eyelid geckos (Eublepharidae), a group exhibiting large variation in body size and TEWL. The intraspecific allometry of TEWL of an eublepharid species fits the geometric surface-mass relationship. However, evolutionary shifts to both higher and lower evaporation were strongly correlated with habitat aridity and cannot be explained by shifts in body size alone. The intraspecific allometry of standard metabolic rate is nearly the same as the interspecific allometry. Unlike for mammals and birds, this pattern rules out respiratory water loss as a driver of the adaptive changes in TEWL among eublepharids. Scale morphology was independent of TEWL variation as well, but the correlation between cutaneous water loss and TEWL suggests a crucial role of skin permeability in adaptation to habitat aridity. Our analyses demonstrate how powerful a comparison of intra- and interspecific allometries can be for detecting body size-dependent mechanisms of adaptive changes in ecophysiological traits correlated with body size.

Methods

Data collected as described in the paper Hlubeň M., Kratochvíl L., Gvoždík L. & Starostová Z. (2021). Ontogeny, phylogeny, and mechanisms of adaptive changes in evaporative water loss in geckos. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, in press.

Funding

Grantová Agentura, Univerzita Karlova, Award: 1258217

Charles University Grant SVV, Award: SVV260571/2021

Charles University Grant SVV, Award: SVV260571/2021