CORRELATION BETWEEN ANOLIS LIZARD DEWLAP PHENOTYPE AND ENVIRONMENTAL VARIATION INDICATES ADAPTIVE DIVERGENCE OF A SIGNAL IMPORTANT TO SEXUAL SELECTION AND SPECIES RECOGNITION

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Abstract

Although the importance of signals involved in species recognition and sexual selection to speciation is widely recognized, the processes that underlie signal divergence are still a matter of debate. Several possible processes have been hypothesized, including genetic drift, arbitrary sexual selection, and adaptation to local signaling environments. We use comparative analyses to investigate whether the remarkable geographic variation of dewlap phenotype in a Hispaniolan trunk Anolis lizard (A. distichus) is a result of adaptive signal divergence to heterogeneous environments. We recover a repeated pattern of divergence in A. distichus dewlap color, pattern, and size with environmental variation across Hispaniola. These results are aligned with ecological models of signal divergence and provide strong evidence for dewlap adaptation to local signaling environments. We also find that A. distichus dewlaps vary with the environment in a different manner to other previously studied anoles, thus expanding upon previous predictions on the direction dewlaps will diverge in perceptual color space in response to the environment.

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