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Keywords:

  • Bergmann's rule;
  • body size;
  • environmental temperature;
  • geographic clines;
  • Liolaemus lizards;
  • reptiles

Abstract

Bergmann's rule predicts larger body sizes in species living in higher latitudes and altitudes. This rule appears to be valid for endotherms, but its relevance to ectotherm vertebrates has largely been debated. In squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes), only one study, based on Liolaemus species of the boulengeri clade, has provided phylogenetic evidence in favour of Bergmann's clines. We reassessed this model in the same lizard clade, using a more representative measure of species body size and including a larger number of taxa in the sample. We found no evidence to support Bergmann's rule in this lineage. However, these non-significant results appear to be explained only by the inclusion of further species rather than by a different estimation of body size. Analyses conducted on the 16 species included in the previous study always revealed significant relationships between body size and latitude–altitude, whereas, the enlarged sample always rejected the pattern predicted by Bergmann's rule.