Describing the relationships among morphology, behavior, and ecology is central to understanding the processes of evolutionary diversification. Anolis lizards are an excellent group for studying such ecomorphological relationships. Extensive research on anole ecological morphology has been conducted in the Caribbean, where sympatric species have repeatedly and convergently evolved to partition habitat through differential perch use. Six ecomorphs have been described, each with particular behavioral, morphological, and ecological characteristics well-suited for the microhabitat it occupies. However, little research has been conducted in mainland Central or South America, and a few case studies suggest that mainland anoles may not conform to the ecomorph classes recognized for Greater Antillean anoles. In this study, we examine the ecological morphology of sympatric mainland species of Anolis in a tropical lowland rainforest in Costa Rica and compare these species to the Caribbean ecomorphs. Our results show overlapping niches and substantial variability in habitat use across many species. Moreover, the relationship between relative hindlimb morphology and habitat use in Anolis humilis and Anolis limifrons does not conform to that of Caribbean species. Predation and fluctuating environmental conditions likely structure morphological variation differently in the mainland, leading the independent radiation of mainland anoles to produce divergent ecomorphological relationships compared with the Caribbean islands.
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Vol. 570 • No. 1