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Climate shapes the geographic distribution and introgressive spread of color ornamentation in common wall lizards


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Ruiz Minano, M, While, GM ORCID: 0000-0001-8122-9322, Yang, W, Burridge, CP ORCID: 0000-0002-8185-6091, Sacchi, R, Zuffi, M, Scali, S, Salvi, D and Uller, T 2021 , 'Climate shapes the geographic distribution and introgressive spread of color ornamentation in common wall lizards' , The American Naturalist , doi: 10.1086/715186.

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Climate can exert an effect on the strength of sexual selection, but empirical evidence is limited. Here, we tested if climate predicts the geographic distribution and introgressive spread of sexually selected male color ornamentation across 114 populations of the common wall lizard, Podarcis muralis. Coloration was highly structured across the landscape, and did not reflect genetic differentiation. Instead, color ornamentation was consistently exaggerated in hot and dry environments, suggesting that climate-driven selection maintains geographic variation in spite of gene flow. Introgression of color ornamentation into a distantly related lineage appears to be ongoing and was particularly pronounced in warm climates with wet winters and dry summers. Combined, these results suggest that sexual ornamentation is consistently favored in climates that allow a prolonged reproductive season and high and reliable opportunities for lizard activity. This pattern corroborates theoretical predictions that such climatic conditions reduce the temporal clustering of receptive females and increase male-male competition, resulting in strong sexual selection. In summary, we provide compelling evidence for the importance of climate for the evolution of color ornamentation, and demonstrate that geographic variation in the strength of sexual selection influences introgression of this phenotype.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ruiz Minano, M and While, GM and Yang, W and Burridge, CP and Sacchi, R and Zuffi, M and Scali, S and Salvi, D and Uller, T
Journal or Publication Title: The American Naturalist
Publisher: American Society of Naturalists/University of Chicago Press
ISSN: 0003-0147
DOI / ID Number: 10.1086/715186
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 The University of Chicago Press.

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