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Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree

Ecology and Adaptive Radiation of Anoles

Jonathan Losos

Publication Year: 2009

Adaptive radiation, which results when a single ancestral species gives rise to many descendants, each adapted to a different part of the environment, is possibly the single most important source of biological diversity in the living world. One of the best-studied examples involves Caribbean Anolis lizards. With about 400 species, Anolis has played an important role in the development of ecological theory and has become a model system exemplifying the integration of ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral studies to understand evolutionary diversification. This major work, written by one of the best-known investigators of Anolis, reviews and synthesizes an immense literature. Jonathan B. Losos illustrates how different scientific approaches to the questions of adaptation and diversification can be integrated and examines evolutionary and ecological questions of interest to a broad range of biologists.

Published by: University of California Press

Series: Organisms and Environments

Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree: Ecology and Adaptive Radiation of Anoles is the tenth volume in the University of California Press’s series on organisms and environments, whose unifying themes are the diversity of plants and animals, the ways they interact with each other and with their surroundings, and the implications of those relationships for science and society. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

My first recollection of an Anolis lizard is from a trip to Miami to visit a great-aunt when I was about ten. She lived near a park, where I happily chased green anoles, only to be scared out of my wits by the unexpected appearance of an enormous Cuban Knight anole (A. equestris). Since then, anoles have been a recurrent theme in my life. ...

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Prologue: The Case for Anolis

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pp. xvii-xx

A green lizard sits on the bank at the edge of a tiny stream near the town of Soroa in western Cuba. It may appear unassuming, but this is not your ordinary lizard. Its head is cocked sideways as it peers into the water. Suddenly, it dives into the water, emerging with a small crayfish in its mouth. ...

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1. Evolutionary Biology as Historical Science

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pp. 1-10

One of the great goals of modern science is to understand biological diversity: where it comes from, how it evolves, and what maintains it. It has fallen to the field of evolutionary biology to try to answer these questions. In attempting to do so, evolutionary biology does not fit the everyday view of science in which hypotheses are put forward and subjected to experimental test. ...

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2. Meet the Anoles!

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pp. 11-28

The goal of this chapter is twofold. First, to introduce anoles: what they are, what makes them unique, and where they occur. Second, to focus on what it is to be an anole species. How do species differ from one another? How do we tell one from another? How do they tell one from another? ...

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3. Five Anole Faunas, Part One: Greater Antillean Ecomorphs

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pp. 29-58

In this and the next chapter, I break anole diversity into five groups, corresponding mostly to the anoles of different regions. “Fauna” is used loosely, as two of these faunas co-occur, and another fauna extends over the majority of the geographic distribution of these lizards. ...

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4. Five Anole Faunas, Part Two: The Other Four

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pp. 59-80

Although they’ve received the lion’s share of research, the ecomorphs are not the whole anole story. Not even most of it. In fact, less than one anole species in three is a Greater Antillean ecomorph. In this chapter, I introduce the other elements of anole diversity, namely the unique (or non-ecomorph) anoles of the Greater Antilles, ...

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5. Phylogenetics Evolutionary Inference and Anole Relationships

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pp. 81-98

In the previous two chapters, I have described the distribution and diversity of anoles with little mention of evolution. Yet, some of the patterns of anole diversity beg, no, scream for evolutionary analysis. Are members of the same ecomorph class on different islands closely related? ...

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6. Phylogenetic Perspective on the Timing and Biogeography of Anole Evolution

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pp. 99-112

Our current understanding of anole phylogeny (Chapter 5) provides substantial insight into the evolution of the anole faunas. Throughout the rest of the book, I will frequently use this knowledge to address questions concerning the origin and maintenance of anole biodiversity. ...

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7. Evolution of Ecomorphological Diversity

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pp. 113-134

Fortunately, the uncertainties about the biogeographic history of Anolis discussed in the previous chapter have little bearing on understanding of patterns of ecomorphological radiation and diversification, at least within the West Indies. Phylogenetic information indicates that for the most part anoles have radiated independently on each island of the Greater Antilles, ...

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8. Cradle to Grave: Anole Life History and Population Biology

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pp. 135-160

Before tackling the question of how anole species interact (Chapter 11), and how such interactions might drive evolutionary change (Chapter 12), I need to discuss what makes anoles tick. That is, how do anoles interact with their environment? What happens during the course of an anole lifetime and why? ...

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9. Social Behavior, Sexual Selection, and Sexual Dimorphism

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pp. 161-188

Sexual selection—“the advantage which certain individuals have over others of the same sex and species solely in respect of reproduction” (Darwin, 1871)—is a topic of great interest to behavioral and evolutionary biologists. The past 25 years have seen a tremendous upsurge in interest in sexual selection, ...

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10. Habitat Use

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pp. 189-204

A key factor in understanding anole biological diversity is habitat use. Within localities, coexisting species invariably differ in some aspect of habitat use. Across the landscape, species replace each other as the environment changes. Through time, habitat use evolves within clades in predictable ways. ...

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11. Ecology and Adaptive Radiation

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pp. 205-232

Adaptive radiation is the evolutionary divergence of members of a clade to adapt to the environment in a variety of different ways (Simpson, 1953; Givnish, 1997; Schluter, 2000).258 Some of the most spectacular case studies in evolutionary biology are adaptive radiations. ...

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12. Natural Selection and Microevolution

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pp. 233-256

The anole radiation is characterized by divergence of closely related species into different ecological niches, producing communities composed of ecologically differentiated species. The theory of adaptive radiation presented in the last chapter posits that this diversity is the evolutionary result of ecological interactions between initially similar species. ...

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13. Form Function, and Adaptive Radiation

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pp. 257-290

The previous two chapters have focused on the ecological side of adaptive radiation, discussing how interspecific interactions drive ecological shifts and how natural selection subsequently leads to evolutionary change. In this chapter, I take the macroevolutionary perspective: ...

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14. Speciation and Geographic Differentiation

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pp. 291-316

Adaptive radiation involves both multiplication of species from a single ancestor and ecological and phenotypic diversification of these species, with the end result that communities are composed of multiple species adapted to different niches. The focus of the last several chapters has been on the second of these two aspects, ...

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15. The Evolution of an Adaptive Radiation

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pp. 317-350

In Chapter 11, I defined adaptive radiation as the evolutionary divergence of members of a clade to adapt to the environment in a variety of different ways and presented three predictions made by a hypothesis of adaptive radiation: ...

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16. The Five Faunas Reconsidered

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pp. 351-382

The Anolis evolutionary pageant exhibits a fundamental duality. On one hand, the Greater Antillean ecomorphs are renowned for convergence of entire communities, with the same set of ecomorphs evolving repeatedly. On the other hand, only one of the other four anole faunas—the anoles of the small islands of the Greater Antilles— ...

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17. Are the Anoles Special, and If So, Why?

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pp. 383-410

What’s so great about anoles? Why have I written a whole book about them—and spent more than 20 years studying them—and why have you read the book? Of course, they’re attractive and engaging little creatures, with great variety and entertaining behavior. ...

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pp. 411-420

In this section, I present a list of all West Indian anole species and of all mainland species mentioned in the text. In addition, Figure A.1 presents the complete phylogeny from Nicholson et al. [2005] that served as the basis for several figures in this book and was used for all original statistical analyses presented here. ...


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pp. 421-494


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pp. 495-507

E-ISBN-13: 9780520943735
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520255913

Page Count: 528
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Organisms and Environments

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Subject Headings

  • Anoles -- Evolution.
  • Anoles -- Ecology.
  • Anoles -- Adaptation.
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