Morphological and ecological divergence in two populations of European glass lizard, Pseudopus apodus (Squamata: Anguidae)|
Glavaš, Olga Jovanović ; Počanić, Paula ; Lovrić, Vanja ; Derežanin, Lorena ; Tadić, Zoran & Lisičić, Duje
The European glass lizard, Pseudopus apodus (Pallas, 1775), is a large, legless lizard with wide distribution across south-eastern Europe and eastern and central Asia. To date, morphological diversification among populations on a geographically small scale has not yet been reported in this lizard. Thus, we investigated the morphological variations and corresponding differences in habitat utilization between two populations of P. apodus inhabiting the same biogeographical zone within a relatively close geographic area. We hypothesized that minor differences in habitat could induce a significant level of morphological differentiation, thus indicating morphological plasticity in this species on a small geographical scale. We sampled 164 individuals (92 from the Croatian mainland and 72 from the island of Cres). Results showed that P. apodus indeed exhibited morphological differences between populations in the same biogeographical zone within a relatively close geographic area, with the Cres Island individuals being generally larger than the individuals from the mainland. Some ecological characteristics were similar in both populations (e.g., soil temperature, distance to hiding place), whereas others were distinct (e.g., air temperature and humidity). In addition, vegetation cover differed between the two sites, with more vegetation present on the mainland than on the island. Furthermore, the Cres Island population showed clear sexual dimorphism, which was absent in the mainland population.
Mediterranean; Morphology; Sauria; Sexual dimorphism