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From micro to macroevolution: drivers of shape variation in an island radiation of Podarcis lizards

Taverne, Maxime; Dutel, Hugo; Fagan, Michael; Štambuk, Anamaria; Lisičić, Duje; Tadić, Zoran; Fabre, Anne Claire; Herrel, Anthony


Maxime Taverne

Hugo Dutel

Michael Fagan

Anamaria Štambuk

Duje Lisičić

Zoran Tadić

Anne Claire Fabre

Anthony Herrel


Phenotypictraits have been shown to evolve in response to variation in the environment. However, the evolutionary processes underlying the emergence of phenotypic diversity can typically only be understood at the population level. Consequently, how subtle phenotypic differences at the intraspecific level can give rise to larger-scale changes in performance and ecology remains poorly understood. We here tested for the covariation between ecology, bite force, jaw muscle architecture, and the three-dimensional shape of the cranium and mandible in 16 insular populations of the lizards Podarcis melisellensis and P. sicula. We then compared the patterns observed at the among-population level with those observed at the interspecific level. We found that three-dimensional head shape as well as jaw musculature evolve similarly under similar ecological circumstances. Depending on the type of food consumed or on the level of sexual competition, different muscle groups were more developed and appeared to underlie changes in cranium and mandible shape. Our findings show that the local selective regimes are primary drivers of phenotypic variation resulting in predictable patterns of form and function. Moreover, intraspecific patterns of variation were generally consistent with those at the interspecific level, suggesting that microevolutionary variation may translate into macroevolutionary patterns of ecomorphological diversity.


Taverne, M., Dutel, H., Fagan, M., Štambuk, A., Lisičić, D., Tadić, Z., …Herrel, A. (2021). From micro to macroevolution: drivers of shape variation in an island radiation of Podarcis lizards. Evolution, 75(11), 2685-2707.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 21, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 13, 2022
Journal Evolution
Print ISSN 0014-3820
Electronic ISSN 1558-5646
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 75
Issue 11
Pages 2685-2707
Keywords Bite force; Diet; Geometric morphometrics; Head shape; Intraspecific variation; Island; Lizards; Sexual competition
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (11.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2021 The Authors. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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