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Keywords:

  • Agamidae;
  • Brownian motion;
  • ecomorphology;
  • Iguania;
  • locomotion;
  • phylogenetic comparative method

Abstract

Habitat use may lead to variation in diversity among evolutionary lineages because habitats differ in the variety of ways they allow for species to make a living. Here, we show that structural habitats contribute to differential diversification of limb and body form in dragon lizards (Agamidae). Based on phylogenetic analysis and ancestral state reconstructions for 90 species, we find that multiple lineages have independently adopted each of four habitat use types: rock-dwelling, terrestriality, semi-arboreality and arboreality. Given these reconstructions, we fit models of evolution to species’ morphological trait values and find that rock-dwelling and arboreality limit diversification relative to terrestriality and semi-arboreality. Models preferred by Akaike information criterion infer slower rates of size and shape evolution in lineages inferred to occupy rocks and trees, and model-averaged rate estimates are slowest for these habitat types. These results suggest that ground-dwelling facilitates ecomorphological differentiation and that use of trees or rocks impedes diversification.