In reptiles, polyploidy is an unusual phenomenon that can originate from interspecific hybridization. In Chile, the lizard Liolaemus chiliensis provides a unique model with which to study the origin of polyploidy because it occurs in populations of diploid individuals and a few populations that also contain triploid and diploid-triploid mosaic lizards. To test whether L. chiliensis polyploids were hybrids between lineages within the species, we analysed the karyotype, the mitochondrial gene Cytb, seven microsatellite loci, and the linear and geometric morphometry of individuals throughout the species distribution. We found polyploidy at different localities throughout the distribution. Hybrids were detected with the microsatellite loci and morphological data. A clear relationship between hybridization and polyploidy could not be established because triploid and mosaic lizards were hybrids and purebreds. However, our results support the occurrence of both phenomena, and further research is needed to clarify how hybridization could be involved in the origin of polyploidy.
- geometric morphometry