A major problem for biodiversity conservation and management is that a significant portion of species diversity remains undocumented (the ‘taxonomic impediment’). This problem is widely acknowledged to be dire among invertebrates and in developing countries; here, we demonstrate that it can be acute even in conspicuous animals (reptiles) and in developed nations (Australia). A survey of mtDNA, allozyme and chromosomal variation in the Australian gecko, genus Diplodactylus, increases overall species diversity estimates from 13 to 29. Four nominal species each actually represent multi-species complexes; three of these species complexes are not even monophyletic. The high proportion of cryptic species discovered emphasizes the importance of continuing detailed assessments of species diversity, even in apparently well-known taxa from industrialized countries.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
Oliver, P. M., Adams, M., Lee, M. S. Y., Hutchinson, M. N., & Doughty, P. (2009). Cryptic diversity in vertebrates: molecular data double estimates of species diversity in a radiation of Australian lizards (Diplodactylus, Gekkota). Proceedings of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences, 276(1664), 2001-2007. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.1881