Disentangling the effects of intraspecies variability, phylogeny, space, and climate on the evolution of shell morphology in endemic Greek land snails of the genus Codringtonia



Extensive variation in land snail shell morphology has been widely documented, although few studies have attempted to investigate the ecological and evolutionary drivers of this variation. Within a comparative phylogenetic framework, we investigated the temporal and spatial evolution of the shell morphology of the Greek endemic land snail genus Codringtonia. The contribution of both inter- and intraspecies shell differentiation in the overall shell variability is assessed. The effect of climate, space, and evolutionary history on the shell variability was inferred using a variance partitioning framework. For Codringtonia species, intraspecies divergence of shell traits contributes substantially to the overall shell variability. By decomposing this variability, it was shown that the overall shell size of Codringtonia clades is phylogenetically constrained, related to early speciation events, and strongly affected by large-scale spatial variability (latitudinal gradient). The effect of climate on shell size cannot be disentangled from phylogeny and space. Shell and, to a larger extent, aperture shape are not phylogenetically constrained, and appear to be mostly related to conspecific populations divergence events. Shell shape is substantially explained by both climate and space that greatly overlap. Aperture shape is mainly interpreted by medium to small-scale spatial variables. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 110, 796–813.