Relationships of the morphological variation in diploids, triploids and mosaics of Liolaemus chiliensis (Sauria: Liolaemidae)

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Liolaemus chiliensis, a widely distributed species in Chile, is unique in vertebrates because it presents populations with diploid (2n), triploid (3n) and mosaic (2n/3n) females, and with diploid and mosaic males whose meiosis produces reduced (n) and unreduced (2n) euploid gametes. With the aim of evaluating evolutionary consequences of polyploidy, we analyzed the morphological variability of 103 adults of L. chiliensis from separated geographic areas using both traditional and geometric morphometry in order to visualize shape and size differences in individuals with different ploidy. The results indicated that Liolaemus chiliensis is morphologically variable; a significant effect was observed for the interaction term of the three factors tested: sex, ploidy and locality. From the analysis, females exhibited higher values of axilla groin distance than males. There were also morphological differences in mosaic and triploid organisms with respect to the sympatric and allopatric diploids in the dorsal shape of the head, and the presence of intermediate phenotypes of triploids and mosaic lizards with sympatric males and females associated with the axilla groin distance. Results showed that there are morphological differences between polyploid and diploid organisms with both traditional and geometric approaches, suggesting evolutionary trend to differentiation; future research is needed to assess the underlying ecological and genetic mechanisms related to this phenomenon.


Publication of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica



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  • Map of central Chile showing Liolaemus chiliensis sampling areas. Triangles: North group; circles: Center group; squares: South group. The arrow points out “La Vega” locality.

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  • Homologous landmarks in the dorsal and lateral views of the head of Liolaemus chiliensis.

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  • Principal component analysis for traditional morphometry variables of (a) females, (b) males and (c) individuals of the Center group in Liolaemus chiliensis. Ellipses in the figures represent the 95% confidence limits of the factors analyzed. Analysis was performed including all groups; points were presented separately to facilitate visualization.

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  • Deformation grids for the extreme values in the first two principal components (relative warps) of the shape variables in the dorsal view (a) and lateral view (b) of the head of Liolaemus chiliensis.

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  • First two principal components (relative warps) of geometric morphometry variables of the dorsal view of the head of (a) females, (b) males and (c) individuals of the Center group of Liolaemus chiliensis. Ellipses in the figures represent the 95% confidence limits of the different factors analyzed. Analysis was performed including all groups; points were presented separately to facilitate visualization.

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  • First two principal components (relative warps) of geometric morphometry variables of the lateral view of the head of (a) females, (b) males and (c) individuals of the center zone L. chiliensis. Ellipses in the figures represent the 95% confidence limits of the different factors analyzed. Analysis was performed including all groups; points were presented separately to facilitate visualization.

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