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Keywords:

  • Anolis lizards;
  • anthropogenic change;
  • habitat structure;
  • island;
  • selection

Abstract

Understanding the evolutionary consequences of anthropogenic change is an emerging topic in evolutionary biology. While highly sensitive species may go extinct in response to anthropogenic habitat alteration, those with broader environmental tolerances may persist and adapt to the changes. Here, we use morphological data from the brown anole (Anolis sagrei), a lizard species that lives in both natural and human-disturbed habitats, to examine the impact of anthropogenic habitat alteration. We find populations inhabiting disturbed habitats were significantly larger in snout-vent length, hindspan, and mass and provide evidence that the observed divergence in hindspan is driven by human-induced changes in habitat structure. Populations were found to be genetically distinct among islands but are not genetically differentiated between habitat types on islands. Thus, the observed pattern of intra-island morphological differences cannot be explained by separate founding populations. Rather, our results are consistent with morphological differences between habitats having arisen in situ on each island. Results underscore the significant impact anthropogenic change may have on evolutionary trajectories of populations that persist in human-altered habitats.