, Volume 100, Issue 4, pp 397-405

Divergent ecology of sympatric clones of the asexual gecko, Lepidodactylus lugubris

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Abstract

We report differences in the thermal biology, elevational, temporal and geographic distributions of sympatric clones of the widespread asexual house gecko, Lepidodactylus lugubris. The two most common L. lugubris clones in Fiji, clones 2NA and 2NB, differ significantly in preferred temperature as measured in a laboratory heat gradient, but were similar in critical thermal maximum and minimum. Significant differences were found in the relative frequency of clones 2NA, 2NB, and a third Fijian clone, clone 3NB, at seven sites along an elevational gradient in Fiji. Clone 2NB was not collected at sites above 235 m, consistent with its higher preferred temperature, whereas clone 2NA was captured as high as 835 m. Clone 3NB was extremely rare at sealevel (1% of all individuals at three sites below 100 m), but predominated at the two highest-elevation sites (42% and 100%). Clones 2NA and 2NB did not differ significantly in their activity time or ambient activity temperature at low-elevation sites. Clone 3NB however, was active on significantly cooler nights at two of those sites. These significant inter-clonal differences in spatial and temporal distribution should allow a more complete utilization of resources by the assemblage of clones than by any single clonal genotype, and may promote coexistence of clones at a within-island and within-site scale. Clone 2NA, which is the most common clone in Fiji and has the broadest elevational distribution, also has the widest geographic distribution. It was the predominant clone at 27 of 34 sites surveyed in nine Pacific archipelagoes. This suggests that the ecological attributes that favor this clone in Fiji also favor it elsewhere in the Pacific despite differing environmental conditions and clonal composition in those areas.