Many of the classic examples of adaptive radiation, including Caribbean Anolis lizards, are found on islands. However, Anolis also exhibits substantial species richness and ecomorphological disparity on mainland Central and South America. We compared patterns and rates of morphological evolution to investigate whether, in fact, island Anolis are exceptionally diverse relative to their mainland counterparts. Quite the contrary, we found that rates and extent of diversification were comparable--Anolis adaptive radiation is not an island phenomenon. However, mainland and Caribbean anoles occupy different parts of morphological space; in independent colonizations of both island and mainland habitats, island anoles have evolved shorter limbs and better-developed toe pads. These patterns suggest that the two areas are on different evolutionary trajectories. The ecological causes of these differences are unknown, but may relate to differences in predation or competition among mainland and island communities.
Pinto, GabrielMahler, D LukeHarmon, Luke JLosos, Jonathan BengComparative StudyResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.England2008/08/21 09:00Proc Biol Sci. 2008 Dec 7;275(1652):2749-57. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0686.