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  1. Abstract

    Animal signals evolve in an ecological context. Locally adapting animal sexual signals can be especially important for initiating or reinforcing reproductive isolation during the early stages of speciation. Previous studies have demonstrated that dewlap colour inAnolislizards can be highly variable between populations in relation to both biotic and abiotic adaptive drivers at relatively large geographical scales. Here, we investigated differentiation of dewlap colouration among habitat types at a small spatial scale, within multiple islands of the West Indies, to test the hypothesis that similar local adaptive processes occur over smaller spatial scales. We explored variation in dewlap colouration in the most widespread species of anole,Anolis sagrei, across three characteristic habitats spanning the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, namely beach scrub, primary coppice forest and mangrove forest. Using reflectance spectrometry paired with supervised machine learning, we found significant differences in spectral properties of the dewlap between habitats within small islands, sometimes over very short distances. Passive divergence in dewlap phenotype associated with isolation‐by‐distance did not seem to explain our results. On the other hand, these habitat‐specific dewlap differences varied in magnitude and direction across islands, and thus, our primary test for adaptation—parallel responses across islands—was not supported. We suggest that neutral processes or selection could be involved in several ways, including sexual selection. Our results shed new light on the scale at which signal colour polymorphism can be maintained in the presence of gene flow, and the relative role of local adaptation and other processes in driving these patterns of dewlap colour variation across islands.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Some of the most important insights into the ecological and evolutionary processes of diversification and speciation have come from studies of island adaptive radiations, yet relatively little research has examined how these radiations initiate. We suggest thatAnolis sagreiis a candidate for understanding the origins of the CaribbeanAnolisadaptive radiation and how a colonizing anole species begins to undergo allopatric diversification, phenotypic divergence and, potentially, speciation. We undertook a genomic and morphological analysis of representative populations across the entire native range ofA. sagrei, finding that the species originated in the early Pliocene, with the deepest divergence occurring between western and eastern Cuba. Lineages from these two regions subsequently colonized the northern Caribbean. We find that at the broadest scale, populations colonizing areas with fewer closely related competitors tend to evolve larger body size and more lamellae on their toepads. This trend follows expectations for post‐colonization divergence from progenitors and convergence in allopatry, whereby populations freed from competition with close relatives evolve towards common morphological and ecological optima. Taken together, our results show a complex history of ancient and recent Cuban diaspora with populations on competitor‐poor islands evolving away from their ancestral Cuban populations regardless of their phylogenetic relationships, thus providing insight into the original diversification of colonist anoles at the beginning of the radiation. Our research also supplies an evolutionary framework for the many studies of this increasingly important species in ecological and evolutionary research.

     
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