Anole and Orchid Evolution–What Do They Have in Common?

Figure 1 from Pauw (2006)

Anton Pauw of Stellenbosch University in South Africa writes:

“I am reading Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree and find it fascinating to see how many parallels there are with my one of my study systems, oil-secreting orchids. While the anoles have differentiated across a series of niches provided by a plant, the orchids have differentiated across a series of niches provided by an animal. The orchids segregate the body of the shared pollinator among them so that each places its pollen on a unique segment of the oil-collecting bee. Orchid speciation generally involves shifts between bee species (with placement site conserved), but some speciation also occurs through shift in pollen placement site within the bee , so that sister species occupy for example the first and second segment of the front leg respectively.  Anyway, I thought that you too might find these parallels interesting, so I have attached two papers on the topic. I like the comparison of your Fig. 3.2 with Fig. 1 in the attached 2006 paper.”

The other paper is here. Incidentally,  apparently no one has posted a picture of an anole sitting on an orchid on the internet.

About Jonathan Losos

Author and Professor at Harvard University
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