A molecular phylogeny of the Australian skink genera Eulamprus, Gnypetoscincus and Nangura

O'Connor, D. and Moritz, C. C. (2003) A molecular phylogeny of the Australian skink genera Eulamprus, Gnypetoscincus and Nangura. Australian Journal of Zoology, 51 4: 317-330. doi:10.1071/ZO02050

Author O'Connor, D.
Moritz, C. C.
Title A molecular phylogeny of the Australian skink genera Eulamprus, Gnypetoscincus and Nangura
Journal name Australian Journal of Zoology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-959X
Publication date 2003
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/ZO02050
Volume 51
Issue 4
Start page 317
End page 330
Total pages 14
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Collection year 2003
Language eng
Subject C1
270501 Animal Systematics, Taxonomy and Phylogeny
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract Skinks from the genera Eulamprus, Gnypetoscincus and Nangura are a prominent component of the reptile fauna of the mesic forests of the east coast of Australia and have been the subject of numerous ecological studies. Highly conserved morphology and the retention of ancestral traits have limited our understanding of the relationships within and among these genera beyond an initial identification of species groups within Eulamprus. To address this deficit and to explore the relationships between Eulamprus and the monotypic genera Nangura and Gnypetoscincus, sections of two mitochondrial genes (ND4 and 16S rRNA) were sequenced and subjected to Bayesian phylogenetic analysis. This phylogenetic analysis supports recognition of the three species groups proposed for Eulamprus (murrayi, quoyii and tenuis) and indicates that this genus is paraphyletic, with Gnypetoscincus and Nangura being proximal to basal lineages of the tenuis group. To resolve these and broader problems of paraphyly, we suggest that each of the species groups from 'Eulamprus' should be recognised as a distinct genus. The phylogenetically and ecologically distinct water skinks of the quoyii group would be retained within Eulamprus and the diverse species of the tenuis group allocated to Concinnia. We suggest placing the monophyletic murrayi group, endemic to the rainforests of central eastern Australia, in a new genus ( yet to be formally described). The sequencing data also revealed the existence of a genetically divergent but morphologically cryptic lineage within E. murrayi and substantial diversity within E. quoyii. There is evidence for two major habitat shifts from rainforest towards drier habitats, one leading to the quoyii group and the second defining a clade of three species within the tenuis complex. These ecological transitions may represent adaptations to general drying across eastern Australia during the late Miocene - Pliocene. Each of the major areas of east coast tropical or subtropical rainforest contains multiple phylogenetically diverse endemic species, reflecting the long-term persistence and high conservation value of wet forest habitats in each area.
Keyword Zoology
Comparative Phylogeography
Viviparous Lizard
Energy Stores
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 01:28:09 EST