The island of extremes: Giants and dwarfs on a small remote island

Yuval Itescu, Johannes Foufopoulos, Rachel Schwarz, Petros Lymberakis, Alex Slavenko, Ioanna Aikaterini Gavriilidi, Shai Meiri, Panayiotis Pafilis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Body size evolution on islands is widely studied and hotly debated. Gigantism and dwarfism are thought to evolve under strong natural selection, especially on small remote islands. We report a curious co-occurrence of both dwarf and giant lizards on the same small, remote island (Plakida): the largest Podarcis erhardii (Lacertidae) and smallest Mediodactylus kotschyi sensu lato; Gekkonidae — the two commonest insular reptiles in the Aegean Sea. The geckos of Plakida have a peculiar tail-waving behavior, documented here for the first time in this genus. We suspect that P. erhardii evolved large size to consume geckos and the geckos evolved a unique tail-waving behavior as a defensive mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalRussian Journal of Herpetology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Folium Publishing Company.


  • Aegean Sea islands
  • Body size
  • Geckos
  • Lizards
  • Tail autotomy
  • Tail waving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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