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Hidden in Arabia: the story of an unexpected lizard radiation found within a single "subspecies"

AuthorsGarcía Porta, Joan ; Simó-Riudalbas, Marc; Robinson, Michael; Carranza, Salvador
Issue DateDec-2015
CitationIII Iberian Congress of Biological Systematics (2015)
AbstractUnknown cryptic species can be a significant cause of underestimation of local and regional biodiversity. This applies to inter-tropical regions, but may also be the case in arid lands, where mountain ranges often are important centers of diversification. Through fine-scale sampling, molecular genetic and morphological techniques we have uncovered an extraordinary example of an old radiation in a cryptic vertebrate inhabiting one of the most arid and isolated mountain ranges in Arabia. Our molecular methods reveal 14 candidate species hidden within the subspecies Pristurus r. rupestris , a very abundant saxicolous gecko inhabiting the Hajar Mountains of Northern Oman and United Arab Emirates. Diversification started 15 Ma, but much of the speciation has occurred in the last 7 Ma of the mountains’ orogeny, producing a mosaic of parapatric and allopatric taxa. Diversification dynamics suggest speciation is still ongoing and proceeding from south to north. Secondary interchange has occurred between high and low elevation lineages, and between unrelated lineages formerly separated by mountain blocks. Morphological variation between the 14 candidate species is slight, but a robust high elevation morphotype is identified. We outline the ecological conditions under which this and other cryptic radiations may have occurred in the mountains of southern Arabia.
DescriptionTrabajo presentado en el III Iberian Congress of Biological Systematics (CISA 2015), celebrado en Vitoria-Gasteiz el 17 y 18 de diciembre de 2015.
Appears in Collections:(IBE) Comunicaciones congresos
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