Project 2569: L. Alarcón-Ríos, G. Velo-Antón, A. Kaliontzopoulou. 2017. A non-invasive geometric morphometrics method for exploring variation in dorsal head shape in urodeles: sexual dimorphism and geographic variation in Salamandra salamandra. Journal of Morphology. 278 (4):475-485.
Specimen: Salamandra salamandra gallaica (unvouchered)
View: Dorsal


The study of morphological variation among and within taxa can shed light on the evolution of phenotypic diversification. In the case of urodeles, the dorso-ventral view of the head captures most of the ontogenetic and evolutionary variation of the entire head, which is a structure with a high potential for being a target of selection due to its relevance in ecological and social functions. Here, we describe a non-invasive procedure of geometric morphometrics for exploring morphological variation in the external dorso-ventral view of urodeles’ head. To explore the accuracy of the method and its potential for describing morphological patterns we applied it to two populations of Salamandra salamandra gallaica from NW Iberia. Using landmark-based geometric morphometrics, we detected differences in head shape between populations and sexes, and an allometric relationship between shape and size. We also determined that not all differences in head shape are due to size variation, suggesting intrinsic shape differences across sexes and populations. These morphological patterns had not been previously explored in S. salamandra, despite the high levels of intraspecific diversity within this species. The methodological procedure presented here allows to detect shape variation at a very fine scale, and solves the drawbacks of using cranial samples, thus increasing the possibilities of using collection specimens and alive animals for exploring dorsal head shape variation and its evolutionary and ecological implications in urodeles.

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Article DOI: DOI 10.1002/jmor.20643

Project DOI: 10.7934/P2569,
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  • Creation Date:
    29 November 2016
  • Publication Date:
    30 March 2017
  • Project views: 16604


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    Lucía Alarcón-Ríos
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    Last logged in 03/30/17

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