Monday, December 26, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Species Delimitation Methods Put Into Taxonomic Practice: Two New Madascincus Species, M. miafina & M. pyrurus, formerly allocated to Historical Species Names (Squamata, Scincidae)


Madascincus miafina sp. n., a species from dry areas of northern Madagascar, morphologically very similar to M. polleni    Madascincus pyrurus sp. n., a montane species endemic to the central highlands of Madagascar. Phylogenetically, M. pyrurus is the sister species of M. igneocaudatus

 Miralles, Köhler, Glaw & Vences, 2016. DOI: 10.3897/zse.92.9945 

Abstract
In a previous study, Miralles and Vences (2013) compared seven different methods of species delimitation applied to the genus Madascincus. While focusing on methodological aspects their study involved an extensive data set of multilocus DNA sequences and of comparative morphology. On this basis they emphasized the need of revising the taxonomy of Madascincus, and revealed the existence of at least two well-supported candidate species. The present paper provides formal descriptions of these two taxa: (1) Madascincus miafina sp. n., a species from dry areas of northern Madagascar, morphologically very similar to M. polleni (although both species are not retrieved as sister taxa), and (2) Madascincus pyrurus sp. n., a montane species occurring >1500 m above sea level, endemic to the central highlands of Madagascar (Ibity and Itremo Massifs). Phylogenetically, M. pyrurus is the sister species of M. igneocaudatus, a taxon restricted to the dry littoral regions of the south and south-west of Madagascar in lowlands <500 m above sea level. To facilitate future taxonomic work, we furthermore elaborated an identification key for species of Madascincus. Finally, some aspects of the biogeographic patterns characterising the different main clades within the genus Madascincus are provided and discussed for the first time in the light of a robust phylogenetic framework.

Key Words: Madascincus miafina sp. n., Madascincus pyrurus sp. n., Madagascar, phylogeny, morphology, integrative taxonomy, species complex, biogeography


Figure 4.: Photographic plate showing most of the recognized species of Madascincus (picture not available for Mmacrolepis), highlighting the chromatic polymorphism (red tail and brown tail morphs) for M. miafina sp. n., M. pyrurus sp. n. and M. igneocaudatus. Picture I depicts the sole specimen known from Kirindy that in Glaw and Vences (2007) was assigned to a candidate species M. sp. “vitreus”, and O depicts a specimen that these authors assigned to a candidate species M. sp. “baeus”.




Aurélien Miralles, Jörn Köhler, Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences. 2016. Species Delimitation Methods Put Into Taxonomic Practice: Two New Madascincus Species formerly allocated to Historical Species Names (Squamata, Scincidae).
Zoosystematics and Evolution. 92(2); 257-275. DOI: 10.3897/zse.92.9945

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