Alex Slavenko

Alex Slavenko
The University of Sheffield | Sheffield · Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy

About

28
Publications
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303
Citations

Publications

Publications (28)
Article
Full-text available
Limb‐reduced squamates are a convenient model system to investigate macroevolutionary trends in morphology. Here, we provide morphological, ecological and literature data on all known species of limb‐reduced skinks (Scincidae) and their relatives, representing one of the most diverse and widely distributed groups of limb‐reduced squamates. Global....
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Many animals have strict diel activity patterns, with unique adaptations for either diurnal or nocturnal activity. Diel activity is phylogenetically conserved, yet evolutionary shifts in diel activity occur and lead to important changes in an organism's morphology, physiology, and behaviour. We use phylogenetic comparative methods to examine the ev...
Article
Full-text available
The evolutionary history of many organisms is characterized by major changes in morphology and distribution. Specifically, alterations of body mass and geographic distribution may profoundly influence organismal life-history traits. Here, we reconstructed the evolutionary history of flight-feather molt strategy using data from 1,808 Neornithes spec...
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The skink genus Lobulia is endemic to New Guinea, the largest and highest tropical island in the world. Lobulia and its related genera represent an important component of the montane herpetofauna of New Guinea, but it remains understudied and poorly known. We here provide the first, large-scale, systematic revision of Lobulia, using molecular phylo...
Article
Small islets in the Mediterranean Sea are often home to reptiles, typically representing an impoverished sample of the continental fauna, yet with high population densities and signs of rapid morphological and behavioral evolution. In this paper, we present the first herpetofaunal survey of several small islet clusters in close proximity to the Med...
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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 Med...
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Our knowledge of the conservation status of reptiles, the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrates, has improved dramatically over the past decade, but still lags behind that of the other tetrapod groups. Here, we conduct the first comprehensive evaluation (~92% of the world's ~1714 described species) of the conservation 1 Joint senior authors...
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Adaptations for efficient performance are expected to shape animal morphology based on selection for microhabitat use and ecological forces. The presence of competitor species is predicted to cause niches to contract and enhance trait divergence. Therefore, increased species richness is expected to lead to greater trait divergence, and to result in...
Article
The enigmatic snake genus Micrelaps has uncertain phylogenetic affinities. The type species of the genus, Micrelaps muelleri, inhabits the Southern Levant. Snakes inhabiting the Jordan River Valley just south of the Sea of Galilee have been described as a new species, Micrelaps tchernovi, based on their distinct colour patterns, despite M. muelleri...
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Aim Clutch size is a key life‐history trait. In lizards, it ranges over two orders of magnitude. The global drivers of spatial and phylogenetic variation in clutch have been extensively studied in birds, but such tests in other organisms are lacking. To test the generality of latitudinal gradients in clutch size, and their putative drivers, we pres...
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1935 gecko species (and 224 subspecies) were known in December 2019 in seven families and 124 genera. These nearly 2000 species were described by ~950 individuals of whom more than 100 described more than 10 gecko species each. Most gecko species were discovered during the past 40 years. The primary type specimens of all currently recognized geckos...
Article
New Guinea, the world's largest and highest tropical island, has a rich but poorly known biota. Papuascincus is a genus of skinks endemic to New Guinea's mountain regions, comprising two wide-ranging species and two species known only from their type series. The phylogeny of the genus has never been examined and the relationships among its species...
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Aim: Variation in body size across animal species underlies most ecological and evolutionary processes shaping local‐ and large‐scale patterns of biodiversity. For well over a century, climatic factors have been regarded as primary sources of natural selection on animal body size, and hypotheses such as Bergmann's rule (the increase of body size wi...
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Animal body sizes are often remarkably variable across islands, but despite much research we still have a poor understanding of both the patterns and the drivers of body size evolution. Theory predicts that interspecific competition and predation pressures are relaxed on small, remote islands, and that these conditions promote body size evolution....
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In recent years, unusually large geckos have been sighted in Kibbutz Ein Gedi in the Judean Desert, Israel. These geckos are morphologically different from the local, Sinai fan-fingered gecko (Ptyodactylus guttatus), one of the largest gecko species in Israel. In order to identify this population to species level and its origin, we examined specime...
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Aim A major Late Quaternary vertebrate extinction event affected mostly large-bodied 'megafauna'. This is well documented in both mammals and birds, but evidence of a similar trend in reptiles is scant. We assess the relationship between body size and Late Quaternary extinction in reptiles at the global level. Location Global. Methods We compile a...
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Full-text available
1.Home range is the area traversed by an animal in its normal activities. The size of home ranges is thought to be tightly linked to body size, through size effect on metabolic requirements. Due to the structure of Eltonian food pyramids, home range sizes of carnivores are expected to exceed those of herbivorous species. The habitat may also affect...
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The island syndrome describes the evolution of slow life history traits in insular environments. Animals are thought to evolve smaller clutches of larger offspring on islands in response to release from predation pressure and interspecific competition, and the resulting increases in population density and intraspecific competition. These forces bec...
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Aim: Climate is thought to exert a strong influence on animal body sizes. We examined the relationship between amphibian body size and several climatic variables to discern which climatic variables, if any, affect amphibian size evolution. Location: Europe and North America. Methods: We assembled a dataset of mean sizes of 356 (out of 360) amphibia...

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Projects (6)
Project
the project aims to collate a large dataset of reptilian traits to promote better understanding on the evolutionary drivers of trait shifts, their biogeographic correlates and their relevance to ecology, conservation and evolution. Date are based on field, literature, lab and museum studies - and are as comprehensive as we can make them