Phenotypic Plasticity in Anatolian Hardun: A Preliminary Study

Yenmiş M. , Ayaz D.

The 5th Symposium on EuroAsian Biodiversity (SEAB), Muğla, Turkey, 1 - 03 July 2021, vol.1, no.1, pp.209

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Volume: 1
  • City: Muğla
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.209


Phenotypic plasticity is the variations in phenotype based on environmental stimuli. Hardun (Stellagama stellio) is a widely distributed agamid lizard in Anatolia along with Middle East. This wide distribution brings elasticity (or plasticity) in color, morphometry and pholidosis characters. In this study we surveyed four distinct localities of Hardun in Anatolia which are İzmir, Konya and two sides of Toros Mountains in Hatay. We captured 24 individuals. 13 different measurements were taken including the length and width of the head, tail, extremities, body, snout-vent. We photographed the individuals using macro lens and took videos and released them in 30 minutes time. The aim of this study is to find out and compare the phenotypic differences between the four populations. We found out that East Toros population has the shortest tail, body and snout-vent length. The head and body width of these individuals are also narrower than other populations. Longest total bodies were found in İzmir. Sup- and supralabialia were between 10-12 and ventralia were between 41-45 in all populations. Color pattern studies showed that, blue color become prevalent through western populations for both dorsal head and body. Izmir population also vary from others with orange transversal extents at the sides of starred pattern. Vivid colors around the eye fades through eastern populations. Ventral head has line striped pattern in İzmir and Hatay while spotted in Konya populations. These plastic features might be the result of varying temperatures, humidity, proximity to sea and salinity. One of the interesting finding was morphometric differences between two Hatay populations which were 35 km apart (airline). This shows that Toros Mountains keep these populations apart and unlinked therefore they took different evolutionary paths. Yet, these are preliminary results of a much comprehensive study including nearly 100 individuals from 10 localities and gene sequencing. Finding the link between phenotype and genotype is an ongoing research comprise of Mc1R, ND4 and Cytb sequencing. For now, our preliminary results showed that geography, climate and habitat changes effect the phenotype of Hardun distinctively.