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Habitat use, interspecific competition, and phylogenetic history shape the evolution of claw and toepad morphology in Lesser Antillean anoles

Citation

Yuan, Michael; Jung, Catherine; Wake, Marvalee; Wang, Ian (2022), Habitat use, interspecific competition, and phylogenetic history shape the evolution of claw and toepad morphology in Lesser Antillean anoles, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.6078/D10H4Z

Abstract

Ecologically functional traits are the product of several, at times opposing, selective forces. Thus, ecomorphological patterns can be disrupted locally by biotic interactions such as competition and may not be consistent across lineages. Here, we studied the evolution of claws and toepads in relation to macrohabitat (vegetation), use of structural microhabitat (perch height), and congeneric competition for two distantly-related Lesser Antillean anole clades: the bimaculatus and roquet series. We collect univariate and geometric morphometric data from 254 individuals across 22 species to test the hypotheses that (1) functional morphology should covary with both vegetation and perch height and that (2) the presence of a competitor may disrupt such covariation. Our data show predictable associations between morphology and macrohabitat on single-species islands but not when a congeneric competitor is present. The outcomes of competition differ between series, however.  In the bimaculatus series, species with a sympatric congener diverge in claw and toepad traits consistent with functional predictions, whereas roquet series anoles show either no association between habitat and morphology or the opposite pattern. Our results demonstrate that ecomorphological patterns across macrohabitats can be disrupted by competition-driven microhabitat partitioning and that specific morphological responses to similar ecological pressures can vary between lineages.

Funding