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Genetics Selection Evolution

Open Access

Lack of congruence between morphometric evolution and genetic differentiation suggests a recent dispersal and local habitat adaptation of the Madeiran lizard Lacerta dugesii

  • António Brehm1Email author,
  • Mahnaz Khadem2,
  • José Jesus1,
  • Paula Andrade2 and
  • Luis Vicente3
Genetics Selection Evolution200133:671

Received: 22 March 2000

Accepted: 6 July 2001

Published: 15 November 2001


Genetic differentiation among nine populations of the endemic lizard Lacerta dugesii Milne-Edwards 1829 (Lacertidae) from four groups of islands constituting the Archipelago of Madeira, was investigated by protein electrophoresis at 23 enzyme loci. Among twenty polymorphic loci, the total genetic diversity was due primarily to intra-population variation. The allele and genotypic frequencies among populations showed some heterogeneity, allowing the species to present a structuring pattern compatible with their geographical clustering. Some evidence suggests that selection acting on some loci in different ecological conditions may be responsible for the clustering of the populations studied. There was no apparent isolation effect expected under an "island" model of population divergence, and no correlation was found between genetic and geographic distances among populations. Morphological variation of the proposed three L. dugesii subspecies is not congruent with the allozyme analysis. This most probably suggests a rapid colonization of the islands followed by a strong effect of selection operating over the morphological characters used to define the subspecies.


Lacerta dugesiiallozymesmorphologygeographical population structure

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Authors’ Affiliations

Centre of Biological and Geological Sciences, Campus of Penteada, Funchal, Portugal
Department of Biology, University of Madeira, Funchal, Portugal
Centre of Environmental Biology, Departments of Zoology and Anthropology, Science Faculty of Lisbon, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2001