Species aggregations within communities can be influenced by several processes, which operate over different spatial and temporal scales. We sampled communities of continental Anolis lizards to assess co-occurrence at different scales. Our approach allows to simultaneously test the influence of broad environmental envelopes, narrowing toward regional and local structure, to fine-scale habitat characteristics. We also considered the role that neutral processes have played in influencing species co-occurrence by including phylogenetic relatedness and morphology as predictors of microhabitat partitioning. Results suggest that phylogenetic relationships between mainland anoles explain part of the co-occurrence patterns. Furthermore, and in contrast to island species, no influence of morphological characteristics was observed. Instead, the likelihood of species to co-occur was influenced by ecological adaptations. Species are more likely to co-occur when they have similar environmental requirements, but utilise different microhabitats and segregate at a local scale.
Figure | Example of species segregation in western assemblages of Anolis from Ecuador. Environmental envelope and habitat type are the main predictors of aggregation and segregation respectively. Co-occurrence of phylogenetically related species: (a) two Norops species with similar predicted distribution exhibiting local segregation due to patch sites utilised. (b) Distribution of two Dactyloa species, predict similar patterns of distribution but, in this case, also segregation occurs at local scale (patch site)