Understanding the ecological niche to elucidate spatial strategies of the southernmost Tupinambis lizards

Gabriela Cardozo*, Sofía Lanfri, Margarita Chiaraviglio, Sergio Naretto, Valeria Di Cola

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding factors that shape ranges of species is central in evolutionary biology. Species distribution models have become important tools to test biogeographical, ecological and evolutionary hypotheses. Moreover, from an ecological and evolutionary perspective, these models help to elucidate the spatial strategies of species at a regional scale. We modelled species distributions of two phylogenetically, geographically and ecologically close Tupinambis species (Teiidae) that occupy the southernmost area of the genus distribution in South America. We hypothesized that similarities between these species might have induced spatial strategies at the species level, such as niche differentiation and divergence of distribution patterns at a regional scale. Using logistic regression and MaxEnt we obtained species distribution models that revealed interspecific differences in habitat requirements, such as environmental temperature, precipitation and altitude. Moreover, the models obtained suggest that although the ecological niches of Tupinambis merianae and T. rufescens are different, these species might co-occur in a large contact zone.We propose that niche plasticity could be the mechanism enabling their co-occurrence. Therefore, the approach used here allowed us to understand the spatial strategies of two Tupinambis lizards at a regional scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-565
Number of pages15
JournalAmphibia Reptilia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • environmental factors
  • evolutionary ecology
  • niche differentiation
  • sister species
  • species distribution modelling
  • sympatric zone

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