The geographic variation of the highly variable anole Anolis marmoratus from the Archipel de la Guadeloupe (France) has focused interest on the process of speciation resulting from divergent selective pressures. Nice detailed analyses such as that recently published in Molecular Ecology confirmed that differences in body color seem to correlate with environmental characteristics. Within the large diversity of form and color of anoles of the different islands of the archipelago, one phenotypic feature that appears to be variable is the color of the scales around the eye.
For two years, the team FORCE (UMR 7205 Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle/CNRS, Paris, France) in collaboration with La Direction des collections of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France) has been conducting different studies of the behaviors and forms of the anoles of the different islands of the archipelago. The contrasted orange color of the scales around the eye of males Anolis desiradei is remarkable and could probably play a role within the context of behavioral ecology of these anoles. At La désirade, these anoles are living in the same habitat as the endangered Iguana delicatissima. We also recorded some populations of males of Anolis marmoratus on the Basse-Terre with marked black scales around the eyes. In Marie-Galante, the scales around the eye are blue, green or yellow while the head is more often blue or green. The scales around the eye of females of all of the studied populations are often white or pale yellow.
We are now measuring the diversity of this phenotypic trait to test various hypotheses of the role of these colors in the communication between the individuals within the selected populations of Anolis from different islands.