Cryptic diversity in vertebrates: molecular data double estimates of species diversity in a radiation of Australian lizards (Diplodactylus, Gekkota)

P.M. Oliver, M. Adams, M.S.Y. Lee, M.N. Hutchinson, Paul Doughty

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    84 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2001-2007
    JournalProceedings of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences
    Volume276
    Issue number1664
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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