The legacy of translocations among populations of the Ibizan Wall Lizard, Podarcis pityusensis
The Ibizan wall lizard, Podarcis pityusensis, was the subject of several documented translocations by the German vertebrate zoologist Martin Eisentraut, in 1930. He aimed to initiate long-term experiments into the evolution of melanism and other morphological traits and accordingly he designed introductions into five islets that (he believed) contained no lizards. In this study, we analyzed the genetic and morphological characteristics of individuals we found there. We found no lizards on two of the islets, namely Escull de Tramuntana and Galera, but for the first time, detected a large population on a third islet, Es Vaixell. Eisentraut founded the Es Vaixell population with nonmelanistic
Ibizan specimens, but the present day population of Es Vaixell was found to be fully melanistic. Genetic markers support a strong similarity between Es Vaixell and its neighbour islet, Na Gorra, and indicate that, in all likelihood, the individuals introduced by Eisentraut have left no descendants. It is likely that Es Vaixell already contained lizards prior to this introduction. Analyses of microsatellite DNA placed individuals from a fourth islet, Dau Gran, with those of one of its source islet, Escull Vermell. They are also morphologically close to individuals from Escull Vermell. This suggests that selection pressures could have favoured the Escull Vermell phenotype following introduction. For reasons we discuss, the translocations have revealed less than Eisentraut would have originally hoped for. Although evolutionary processes are normally time-consuming, these translocations do provide some potential insights into the rapid evolution of lizard morphology following colonization.