Journal article

Environment, but not genetic divergence, influences geographic variation in colour morph frequencies in a lizard

Claire A McLean, Devi Stuart-Fox, Adnan Moussalli



BACKGROUND: Identifying the causes of intraspecific phenotypic variation is essential for understanding evolutionary processes that maintain diversity and promote speciation. In polymorphic species, the relative frequencies of discrete morphs often vary geographically; yet the drivers of spatial variation in morph frequencies are seldom known. Here, we test the relative importance of gene flow and natural selection to identify the causes of geographic variation in colour morph frequencies in the Australian tawny dragon lizard, Ctenophorus decresii. RESULTS: Populations of C. decresii are polymorphic for male throat coloration and all populations surveyed shared the same four morphs but diffe..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Maik Fiedel, Adam Elliott, Bryant Turffs, Tom McLean and Danial Nordinson for assistance in the field, and thank Peter Watkins and Leah and Richard Khoe for their hospitality. Fieldwork was conducted with approval from the South Australia Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (permit: E25861-1) and ethics approval was obtained from the South Australian Wildlife Ethics Committee (18/2010) and The University of Melbourne Animal Ethics Committee (1011760.1). Research funding was provided by the Australian Research Council to DS-F (DP1092908), and Nature Foundation South Australia and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment to CM.