Correlated evolution of microhabitat, morphology, and behavior in West Indian Anolis lizards: a test of the habitat matrix model

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 01238, USA
  • 2 University of Massachusetts — Boston, Boston, MA 02125, USA

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The habitat matrix model (HMM) explains convergence among arboreal animals as a result of the correlated evolution of morphology, locomotor mode, and habitat use. Although the HMM has generated important insights into the ecology of arboreal species, these tests have left a gap in the habitat-behavior-morphology story by focusing primarily on locomotor performance in lab and field experiments and thus failing to include data on locomotor behavior of undisturbed animals in the wild. We combined data on undisturbed locomotion, habitat use, and morphology for 31 species of arboreal lizard in the genus Anolis and used these data to test nine specific predictions arising from the HMM. We find strong support for nearly all aspects of this model. The addition of data on locomotion by undisturbed wild animals offers a more direct and compelling case for the HMM than most previous tests.

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