Table of Contents
Advances in Zoology
Volume 2014, Article ID 809285, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/809285
Research Article

Microgeographical Variations in Coloration of Male Iberian Wall Lizards May Be Related to Habitat and Climatic Conditions

1Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
2Equipe Ecologie Comportementale, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CNRS), UMR 5175-1919 Route de Mende, 34090 Montpellier, France

Received 5 April 2014; Accepted 29 July 2014; Published 3 September 2014

Academic Editor: Ann V. Hedrick

Copyright © 2014 Marianne Gabirot et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Intraspecific variations in coloration may represent a compromise between selection for intraspecific communication and selection for thermoregulation and predator avoidance. Iberian wall lizards, Podarcis hispanica, exhibit substantial levels of intraspecific variation that cannot be necessarily attributed to genetic differences. We compared variations in coloration and habitat use of three phenotypically distinct populations of P. hispanica in Central Spain. Results suggested that differences in coloration may be related to habitat characteristics and climatic conditions. Thus, lizards from populations with colder temperatures were darker and larger, which may favor thermoregulation. Lizards that lived in habitats with more vegetation and darker granite rocks showed a dark brown to black dorsal coloration. In contrast, lizards from habitats with gypsum and light sandy soil without vegetation or large rocks had a brighter yellow to green dorsal coloration. These differences may increase crypsis to predators in each habitat. There were also differences in the characteristics and relative importance of sexual visual signals (i.e., ventrolateral coloration and number of lateral blue spots) and chemical signals (i.e., number of femoral pores) that might increase efficiency of communication in each environment. Natural selection for traits that allow a better thermoregulation, predator avoidance, and communication might lead to population divergence.