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A Phylogenetic Analysis of Character Displacement in Caribbean Anolis Lizards

Jonathan B. Losos
Evolution
Vol. 44, No. 3 (May, 1990), pp. 558-569
DOI: 10.2307/2409435
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409435
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Phylogenetic Analysis of Character Displacement in Caribbean Anolis Lizards
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Abstract

Twenty-seven islands in the Lesser Antilles contain either one or two species of Anolis lizards. On nine of the ten two-species islands, the species differ substantially in size; 16 of the 17 one-species islands harbor an intermediate-sized species. Two processes could produce such a pattern: size adjustment (or character displacement), in which similar-sized species evolve in different directions in sympatry; and size assortment, in which only different-sized species can successfully colonize the same island together. Previous analyses implicitly have assumed that size is evolutionarily plastic and determined solely by recent ecological conditions, and consequently have tested the hypothesis that character displacement has occurred on each of the ten two-species islands. Other studies have focused only on size assortment. By analyzing such patterns in a phylogenetic context, I explicitly consider historical effects and can distinguish between size adjustment and size assortment. Using a minimum evolution algorithm, I assess evidence for size adjustment by partitioning changes in size along branches of the phylogenetic tree. Size evolution appears rare (a minimum of 4-7 instances of substantial size evolution). In the northern (but not the southern) Lesser Antilles, size change was significantly greater when a descendant taxon occurred on a two-species island and its hypothetical ancestor occurred on a one-species island, thus supporting the size adjustment hypothesis, though size adjustment might have occurred only once. The relative rarity of size evolution suggests that size assortment might be responsible for non-random patterns. In both the northern and southern Lesser Antilles, a null model of no size assortment is convincingly rejected. Closely related taxa, however, are usually similar in size, and hybridization between species has been reported. Consequently, similar-sized species might not coexist because they interbreed and coalesce into one gene pool. A null model that only allows species from different "clades" to co-occur is rejected for the northern Lesser Antilles, but is ambiguous with regard to the southern Lesser Antilles. Thus, competitive exclusion is probably responsible for the pattern of size assortment in the northern Lesser Antilles; both competitive exclusion and interbreeding of closely related species of similar size might be responsible for the patterns evident in the southern Lesser Antilles.

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