The roles of allopatric divergence and natural selection in quantitative trait variation across a secondary contact zone in the lizard Anolis roquet


R. S. Thorpe, Fax: +44 (0) 1248 370731; E-mail:


Populations of the Caribbean lizard, Anolis roquet, are thought to have experienced long periods of allopatry before recent secondary contact. To elucidate the effects of past allopatry on population divergence in A. roquet, we surveyed parallel transects across a secondary contact zone in northeastern Martinique. We used diagnostic molecular mitochondrial DNA markers to test fine-scale association of mitochondrial DNA lineage and geological region, multivariate statistical techniques to explore quantitative trait pattern, and cline fitting techniques to model trait variation across the zone of secondary contact. We found that lineages were strongly associated with geological regions along both transects, but quantitative trait patterns were remarkably different. Patterns of morphological and mitochondrial DNA variation were consistent with a strong barrier to gene flow on the coast, whereas there were no indications of barriers to gene flow in the transitional forest. Hence, the coastal populations behaved as would be predicted by an allopatric model of divergence in this complex, while those in the transitional forest did not, despite the close proximity of the transects and their shared geological history. Patterns of geographical variation in this species complex, together with environmental data, suggest that on balance, selection regimes on either side of the secondary contact zone in the transitional forest may be more convergent, while those either side of the secondary contact zone on the coast are more divergent. Hence, the evolutionary consequences of allopatry may be strongly influenced by local natural selection regimes.