Friday, August 4, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] A Re-evaluation of the Phylogenetic Relationships of the Cyrtodactylus condorensis group (Squamata; Gekkonidae) and A Suggested Protocol for the Characterization of Rock-dwelling Ecomorphology in Cyrtodactylus

Cyrtodactylus grismeri  Ngo, 2008

A re-evaluation of the phylogenetic relationships of the four species of the monophyletic Cyrtodactylus conodorensis group using the mitochondrial gene ND2 with Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses provides strong statistical support for the recovery the cave-adapted ecomorphs C. eisenmanae and C. grismeri as the sister lineage to the scansorial forest-adapted ecomorphs C. condorensis and C. leegrismeri. This phylogeny provides the context in which these ecomorphs are morphologically characterized. The majority of newly described species within Cyrtodactylus have come from karst habitats and granite boulder cave-like microhabitats. Although some authors have commented on subtle to notable differences in the morphology and color pattern associated with species from these habitats, none have explicitly presented data necessary to characterize this putative departure from a more generalized, scansorial morphology. To this end, the closely related species of the condorensis group are used to provide a suggested protocol to recover and delimit characters adaptive to a restrictive lifestyle of climbing on flat, rocky substrates in low levels of illumination. Understanding the phylogenetic context in which a morphological shift from a general scansorial species to a rock-adapted species relative to the historical evolution of its environment has conservation and management implications. This is particularly important given that a number of the newly described karst-adapted species from throughout Southeast Asia are threatened with extension because of the ongoing quarrying activities of their habitat.

Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus, ecomorphology, cave, karst, islands, conservation, Vietnam

L. Lee Grismer and Jesse L. Grismer. 2017. A Re-evaluation of the Phylogenetic Relationships of the Cyrtodactylus condorensis group (Squamata; Gekkonidae) and A Suggested Protocol for the Characterization of Rock-dwelling Ecomorphology in Cyrtodactylus
 Zootaxa. 4300(4); 486–504. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4300.4.2


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