Get access

Phylogeny, paraphyly and ecological adaptation of the colour and pattern in the Anolis roquet complex on Martinique


R. S. Thorpe. Fax: (01248) 371644; E-mail:


Martinique is an environmentally heterogeneous island with a complex geological history. It is occupied by a solitary anole, Anolis roquet, showing marked geographical variation in colour and other features. Phylogenetic analysis of a segment (1 kb) of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene across the Anolis roquet series in the southern Lesser Antilles and at 63 localities of Anolis roquet in Martinique indicate that A. roquet is paraphyletic as A. extremus (Barbados) is nested within the Martinique populations. Moreover, divergent phylogenetic lineages exist within Martinique (max. 10.6% uncorrected pairwise), and these lineages are closely associated with the geological history of this complex island. However, objective quantification of the spectroradiometric analysis of hue by delta analysis, together with analysis of the colour pattern, indicate that they are primarily determined by adaptation to environmental conditions, irrespective of these phylogenetic lineages. There is remarkable convergence in hue and pattern in both extreme xeric (dark chevrons on a dull, generally grey/brown, background), and montane conditions (black reticulation and non-UV white spots on a bright, saturated green background). Moreover, parallel trends occur between Martinique and other Lesser Antillean anoles, which further argues for adaptation (increase in green saturation in montane areas and higher levels of UV on the dewlap of some Atlantic forms). As an exception, there are two specific situations where anoles from different lineages look different. These are (i) in the low-altitude regions of the northwest where the northwestern and central lineages make contact, and (ii) in the far south of the island where the southern and central lineages meet.

Get access to the full text of this article