Melanism in common lizards (Squamata: Lacertidae: Zootoca vivipara): new evidence for a rare but widespread ancestral polymorphism

Recknagel, H. , Layton, M., Carey, R., Leitao, H., Sutherland, M. and Elmer, K. R. (2018) Melanism in common lizards (Squamata: Lacertidae: Zootoca vivipara): new evidence for a rare but widespread ancestral polymorphism. Herpetology Notes, 11, pp. 607-612.

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The presence of a dark-coloured body colouration polymorphism (melanism) is a pervasive phenomenon in the animal kingdom, particularly in reptiles. We provide the first reporting of melanic individuals in a subspecies of common lizards, Zootoca vivipara carniolica or the Eastern oviparous lineage. Two melanic females were found of 194 individuals collected. Melanic females did not differ in size or weight from non-melanic females. No melanic individuals were found (N = 134) in the nearby viviparous population. Melanism has been reported in related lineages of Z. vivipara, so the discovery in this sister to all other lineages suggests that it is an ancestral polymorphism. The frequency of melanism varies but other studies also find it is very rare (<3%) and may be sex-biased. The processes mediating advantages and disadvantages of melanism in Z. vivipara are unclear and require more research.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded in part by NERC (grant: NE/N003942/1) to KRE. Research was conducted with approval under permits HE3-NS-959/2013 (012/2016) and HE3- NS-959/2013 (020/2017)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Layton, Miss Megan and Recknagel, Mr Hans and Elmer, Professor Kathryn and Sutherland, Mr Mark and Leitao, Mr Henrique
Authors: Recknagel, H., Layton, M., Carey, R., Leitao, H., Sutherland, M., and Elmer, K. R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Herpetology Notes
Publisher:Societas Europaea Herpetologica
ISSN (Online):2071-5773
Published Online:15 August 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Societas Europaea Herpetologica
First Published:First published in Herpetology Notes 11:607-612

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
661581From egg-laying to live-bearing: Unravelling the genetics of a major evolutionary transitionKathryn ElmerNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/N003942/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED