Are pheromones key to unlocking cryptic lizard diversity?

Zozaya, Stephen M., Higgie, Megan, Moritz, Craig, and Hoskin, Conrad J. (2019) Are pheromones key to unlocking cryptic lizard diversity? American Naturalist, 194 (2). pp. 168-182.

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Animals use mating traits to compete for, attract, and choose mates. Because mating traits influence mate choice, the divergence of mating traits between populations can result in reproductive isolation. This can occur without associated morphological divergence, producing reproductively isolated cryptic species that are visually indistinguishable. Thus, identifying the mating traits in morphologically conservative groups is key to resolving diversity and speciation processes. Lizards contain many such groups, with phylogeographic studies often revealing highly divergent but morphologically cryptic lineages within species. Considering that cryptic lizard species can be sympatric but morphologically indistinguishable, we hypothesize that candidate species will exhibit divergent pheromones and that pheromones will have typically diverged more than morphology. To test this, we used gas chromatography to characterize pheromones (epidermal pore secretions) from 10 genetically divergent lineages of the Bynoe's gecko (Heteronotia binoei) species complex in northern Australia. Multivariate analyses of pheromone blends and morphology indicate that pheromones are lineage specific and have diverged relatively more than morphology. Such specificity suggests that pheromones influence behavioral isolation in this morphologically conservative lizard radiation. These results suggest that pheromone data may unlock the tremendous cryptic diversity currently being uncovered in many lizard groups.

Item ID: 60098
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1537-5323
Keywords: cryptic species, signaling trait, chemical communication, trait divergence, gecko, Heteronotia binoei
Funders: Australian Society of Herpetologists, Society of Systematic Biologists, James Cook University, Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC DE130100218
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2019 07:34
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310402 Biogeography and phylogeography @ 20%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310412 Speciation and extinction @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310403 Biological adaptation @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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