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Keywords:

  • Allometry;
  • Anolis;
  • craniofacial;
  • evo-devo;
  • face length

Studies integrating evolutionary and developmental analyses of morphological variation are of growing interest to biologists as they promise to shed fresh light on the mechanisms of morphological diversification. Sexually dimorphic traits tend to be incredibly divergent across taxa. Such diversification must arise through evolutionary modifications to sex differences during development. Nevertheless, few studies of dimorphism have attempted to synthesize evolutionary and developmental perspectives. Using geometric morphometric analysis of head shape for 50 Anolis species, we show that two clades have converged on extreme levels of sexual dimorphism through similar, male-specific changes in facial morphology. In both clades, males have evolved highly elongate faces whereas females retain faces of more moderate proportion. This convergence is accomplished using distinct developmental mechanisms; one clade evolved extreme dimorphism through the exaggeration of a widely shared, potentially ancestral, developmental strategy whereas the other clade evolved a novel developmental strategy not observed elsewhere in the genus. Together, our analyses indicate that both shared and derived features of development contribute to macroevolutionary patterns of morphological diversity among Anolis lizards.