Evolution of paedomorphosis in plethodontid salamanders: Ecological correlates and re-evolution of metamorphosis

Ronald M. Bonett, Michael A. Steffen, Shea M. Lambert, John J Wiens, Paul T. Chippindale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Life-history modes can profoundly impact the biology of a species, and a classic example is the dichotomy between metamorphic (biphasic) and paedomorphic (permanently aquatic) life-history strategies in salamanders. However, despite centuries of research on this system, several basic questions about the evolution of paedomorphosis in salamanders have not been addressed. Here, we use a nearly comprehensive, time-calibrated phylogeny of spelerpine plethodontids to reconstruct the evolution of paedomorphosis and to test if paedomorphosis is (1) reversible; (2) associated with living in caves; (3) associated with relatively dry climatic conditions on the surface; and (4) correlated with limited range size and geographic dispersal. We find that paedomorphosis arose multiple times in spelerpines. We also find evidence for re-evolution of metamorphosis after several million years of paedomorphosis in a lineage of Eurycea from the Edwards Plateau region of Texas. We also show for the first time using phylogenetic comparative methods that paedomorphosis is highly correlated with cave-dwelling, arid surface environments, and small geographic range sizes, providing insights into both the causes and consequences of this major life history transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-482
Number of pages17
JournalEvolution
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014

Fingerprint

pedomorphosis
Urodela
metamorphosis
salamanders and newts
Phylogeny
life history
caves
range size
cave
Research
phylogeny
aquatic organisms
salamander
neoteny
plateaus
plateau
phylogenetics
Biological Sciences

Keywords

  • Amphibians
  • Biogeography
  • Climate
  • Development
  • Life history
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Evolution of paedomorphosis in plethodontid salamanders : Ecological correlates and re-evolution of metamorphosis. / Bonett, Ronald M.; Steffen, Michael A.; Lambert, Shea M.; Wiens, John J; Chippindale, Paul T.

In: Evolution, Vol. 68, No. 2, 01.02.2014, p. 466-482.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bonett, Ronald M. ; Steffen, Michael A. ; Lambert, Shea M. ; Wiens, John J ; Chippindale, Paul T. / Evolution of paedomorphosis in plethodontid salamanders : Ecological correlates and re-evolution of metamorphosis. In: Evolution. 2014 ; Vol. 68, No. 2. pp. 466-482.
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