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Living in difficult situations: Lizards living in high altitudes have smaller body sizes due to extreme climatic conditions and limited resources
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  • Gideon Deme,
  • Xixi Liang,
  • Joseph Okoro,
  • Prakash Bhattarai ,
  • Baojun Sun,
  • Yoila Malann,
  • Ryan Martin
Gideon Deme
Case Western Reserve University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Xixi Liang
Institute of Zoology Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Joseph Okoro
University of Nigeria
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Prakash Bhattarai
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research CAS
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Baojun Sun
Institute of Zoology Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Yoila Malann
University of Abuja Faculty of Sciences
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Ryan Martin
Case Western Reserve University
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The evolution of body size, both within and between species, has been long predicted to be influenced by multifarious environmental factors. However, the specific drivers of body size variation have remained difficult to understand because of the wide range of proximate factors that consistently covary with ectotherm body sizes across populations with varying local environmental conditions. Here, we used a widely distributed lizard (Eremias argus) collected from different populations situated across China to assess how climatic conditions and/or available resources at different altitudes shape the geographical patterns of lizard body size across populations. We used body size data from locations differing in altitudes across China to construct linear mixed models to test the relationship between lizard body size and ecological and climate conditions across altitudes. Lizard populations showed significant differences in body size across altitudes. Furthermore, we found that variation in body size among populations was also explained by climatic and seasonal changes along the altitudinal gradient. Specifically, body size decreased with colder and drier environmental conditions at high altitudes, resulting in a reversal of Bergmann’s rule. Limited resources at high altitudes, as measured by net primary productivity, may also constrain body size. Therefore, our study demonstrates that the intraspecific variation in female lizards’ body size may be strongly influenced by multifarious local environments as adaptive plasticity for female organisms to possibly maximise reproductive ecology along geographic clines.
23 Nov 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
24 Nov 2022Submission Checks Completed
24 Nov 2022Assigned to Editor
02 Dec 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
10 Mar 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
13 Apr 20231st Revision Received
13 Apr 2023Submission Checks Completed
13 Apr 2023Assigned to Editor
13 Apr 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
15 May 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
13 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
18 Jul 20232nd Revision Received
18 Jul 2023Submission Checks Completed
18 Jul 2023Assigned to Editor
18 Jul 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Jul 2023Editorial Decision: Accept