Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 698520, 13 pages
Research Article

Differences in Chemical Sexual Signals May Promote Reproductive Isolation and Cryptic Speciation between Iberian Wall Lizard Populations

1Départamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain
2Département Ecologie Comportementale, UMR 5175, CEFE-CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France

Received 7 June 2011; Revised 8 August 2011; Accepted 5 October 2011

Academic Editor: Kyoichi Sawamura

Copyright © 2012 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.


Interpopulational variation in sexual signals may lead to premating reproductive isolation and speciation. Genetic and morphological studies suggest that the Iberian wall lizard, Podarcis hispanica, forms part of a “species complex” with several cryptic species. We explored the role of chemical sexual signals in interpopulational recognition between five distinct populations of Iberian wall lizards in Central Spain. Results showed that these populations differed in morphology and in composition and proportion of chemical compounds in femoral gland secretions of males. Tongue-flick experiments indicated that male and female lizards discriminated and were more interested in scents of lizards from their own area (i.e., Northern versus Southern populations), but did not discriminate between all populations. Moreover, only males from the populations that are geographically located more far away preferred scent of females from their own population. These data suggest that, at least between some populations, there may be reproductive isolation mediated by chemical signals and cryptic speciation.