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Keywords:

  • Body dimensions;
  • Chalcides;
  • cline;
  • ecogenesis;
  • geographic variation;
  • Mantel tests;
  • microevolution;
  • scalation

Recent studies indicate that differential selection between mesic and xeric habitats is the most plausible explanation of within-island geographic variation in the Gran Ganarian skink, Chalcides sexlineatus. The island of Tenerife shows mesic/xeric heterogeneity similar to that on Gran Canaria, so we tested the prediction of parallel geographic patterns of morphological population differentiation in the Tenerife skink, Chalcides viridanus. Geographic variation was found to be complex; patterns of differentiation in body dimensions and scalation show evidence of both mosaic and latitudinal facets. Using randomization and regression methods, significant relationships were found between a hypothesized xeric/mesic model of population differentiation and geographic variation in female body dimensions, as well as with substantial proportions of the geographic variation in male and female scalation and, to a lesser extent, body dimensions. Matrix comparisons based on the entire morphological distance matrices show that the patterns of variation are not concordant with an alternative hypothesis of historical secondary contact, or with an isolation-by-distance model. It is argued that a substantial component of the geographic variation in body dimensions and scalation of C. viridanus is due to differential selection along an aridity gradient.