Meeting Abstract

16.3  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Rapid divergence in morphology, physiology and behaviour among island populations of lizards VERVUST, B; HUYGHE, K; VANHOOYDONCK, B; HERREL, A; BACKELJAU, T; VAN DAMME, R*; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium; Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris; Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussel; Univ. of Antwerp, Belgium

Insular populations often differ considerably in morphology and behavior from related populations on the mainland, and even from populations on similar islands nearby. Although the distinctiveness of insular populations has prompted much evolutionary and ecological research, how, why and how fast populations diverge remains poorly known. In this study, we followed up on an historical transplant experiment involving the introduction of ten specimens of the lizard Podarcis siculus from one small island in the Adriatic Sea to another, 5 kilometers further. The introduction succeeded, the offspring of the introduced lizards replacing a native population of the related species P. melisellensis. After 35 years, the newly founded population has diverged from the source populations in aspects of its morphology (size and shape), physiological performance (sprint speed, endurance, digestive abilities), and behavior (aggressiveness towards conspecifics). We have evidence that at least some of these changes can be considered adaptive responses to change in predator pressure and food availability.