Background: Geographical patterns and degrees of genetic divergence among populations differ between species, reflecting relative potentials for speciation or cladogenesis and differing capacities for environmental adaptation. Identification of factors that contribute to genetic divergence among populations is important to the understanding of why some species exhibit greater interpopulation genetic divergence. In this study, we calculated the mean pairwise genetic distances among populations as species' average genetic divergence by a phylogeny using nuclear and mitochondrial genes of 303 individuals from 33 Cuban Anolis species and estimated species ages by another phylogeny using nuclear and mitochondrial genes of 51 Cuban and 47 non-Cuban Anolis species. We identified factors that influence species' differences in genetic divergence among 26 species of Anolis lizards from Cuba. Species ages, environmental heterogeneity within species ranges, and ecomorph types were considered as factors affecting average genetic divergences among populations. Results: The phylogenies presented in this study provide the most comprehensive sampling of Cuban Anolis species to date. The phylogeny showed more conservative evolution of Anolis ecomorphs within Cuba and identified twig anoles as a monophyletic group. Subsequent Phylogenetic Generalized Least Squares (PGLS) analyses showed that species age was positively correlated with species' average genetic divergence among populations. Conclusion: Although previous studies have focused on factors affecting genetic divergence within species, the present study showed for the first time that species differences in genetic divergence could be largely affected by species age.
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