Increased temperature disrupts chemical communication in some species but not others: The importance of local adaptation and distribution




Iglesias-Carrasco, Maider
Head, Megan
Martin, Jose
Cabido, Carlos

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John Wiley & Sons Inc


Environmental conditions experienced by a species during its evolutionary history may shape the signals it uses for communication. Consequently, rapid environmental changes may lead to less effective signals, which interfere with communication between individuals, altering life history traits such as predator detection and mate searching. Increased temperature can reduce the efficacy of scent marks released by male lizards, but the extent to which this negative effect is related to specific biological traits and evolutionary histories across species and populations have not been explored. We experimentally tested how increased temperature affects the efficacy of chemical signals of high‐ and low‐altitude populations of three lizard species that differ in their ecological requirements and altitudinal distributions. We tested the behavioral chemosensory responses of males from each species and population to male scent marks that had been incubated at one of two temperatures (cold 16°C or hot 20°C). In high‐altitude populations of a mountain species (Iberolacerta monticola), the efficacy of chemical signals (i.e., latency time and number of tongue flicks) was lower after scent marks had been exposed to a hot temperature. The temperature that scent marks were incubated at did not affect the efficacy of chemical signals in a ubiquitous species (Podarcis muralis) or another mountain species (I. bonalli). Our results suggest that specific ecological traits arising through local adaptation to restricted distributions may be important in determining species vulnerability to climatic change.





Ecology and Evolution


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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution License



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