Heterogeneous tempo and mode of evolutionary diversification of compounds in lizard chemical signals

Roberto García-Roa, Manuel Jara, Pilar López, J Martín, Daniel Pincheira-Donoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Important part of the multivariate selection shaping social and interspecific interactions among and within animal species emerges from communication. Therefore, understanding the diversification of signals for animal communication is a central endeavor in evolutionary biology. Over the last decade, the rapid development of phylogenetic approaches has promoted a stream of studies investigating evolution of communication signals. However, comparative research has primarily focused on visual and acoustic signals, while the evolution of chemical signals remains largely unstudied. An increasing interest in understanding the evolution of chemical communication has been inspired by the realization that chemical signals underlie some of the major interaction channels in a wide range of organisms. In lizards, in particular, chemosignals play paramount roles in female choice and male–male competition, and during community assembly and speciation. Here, using phylogenetic macro‐evolutionary modeling, we show for the very first time that multiple compounds of scents for communication in lizards have diversified following highly different evolutionary speeds and trajectories. Our results suggest that cholesterol, α‐tocopherol, and cholesta‐5,7‐dien‐3‐ol have been subject to stabilizing selection (Ornstein–Uhlenbeck model), whereas the remaining compounds are better described by Brownian motion modes of evolution. Additionally, the diversification of the individual compounds has accumulated substantial relative disparity over time. Thus, our study reveals that the chemical components of lizard chemosignals have proliferated across different species following compound‐specific directions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalEcology and Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Heterogeneous tempo and mode of evolutionary diversification of compounds in lizard chemical signals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this