Plasticity can put evolution on repeat if development causes species to generate similar morphologies in similar environments. Anolis lizards offer the opportunity to put this role of developmental plasticity to the test. Following colonization of the four Greater Antillean islands, Anolis lizards independently and repeatedly evolved six ecomorphs adapted to manoeuvring different microhabitats. By quantifying the morphology of the locomotor skeleton of 95 species, we demonstrate that ecomorphs on different islands have diverged along similar trajectories. However, microhabitat-induced morphological plasticity differed between species and did not consistently improve individual locomotor performance. Consistent with this decoupling between morphological plasticity and locomotor performance, highly plastic features did not show greater evolvability, and plastic responses to microhabitat were poorly aligned with evolutionary divergence between ecomorphs. The locomotor skeleton of Anolis may have evolved within a subset of possible morphologies that are highly accessible through genetic change, enabling adaptive convergence independently of plasticity.
Raw scans are available at Morphosource under the project ID P1059, title 'Anolis sp.' (see source data file 1 for individual DOIs). The morphological raw data is available in the source data file 2. Supplementary file 1 contains Extended Methods and supplementary tables.
Anolis sp.MorphoSource, P1059.
- Tobias Uller
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: The study was conducted according to the Lund University Local Ethical Review Process under the permit number Dnr M 31-16.
- Diethard Tautz, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Germany
© 2020, Feiner et al.
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