The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
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Authors: Vrcibradic, Davor; Mausfeld-Lafdhiya, Patrick & Rocha, Carlos Frederico D.
Abstract: Phylogenetic relationships among neotropical skinks of the genus Mabuya are currently unknown. Three species, Mabuya agilis, M. caissara and M. heathi are morphologically very similar and appear to be closely related, but their relationships have never been studied. Here we examine their phylogenetic relationships using partial sequences of the mitochondrial 12S and 16S rRNA genes. Nine populations of M. agilis, four of M. heathi and one of M. caissara were sampled, as well as one population from four other South American Mabuya species. Results of both maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony analyses reveal a strongly supported monophyletic group comprising all populations of agilis, caissara and heathi, but relationships of this clade with the other Mabuya species were not resolved. Genetic distances among members of the agilis/caissara/heathi clade ranged from 0.0% to 2.6%, whereas distances between its members and the other four congeners ranged from 6.0% to 8.6%. Genetic distances and the internal tree structure of the agilis/caissara/heathi clade are somehow consistent with the geographic location of the sampled populations. Based on our results, we suggest that this complex may represent a single species, though more data are needed to verify this.
Keywords: MITOCHONDRIAL DNA, SKINK, BRAZIL, LIZARD, PHYLOGENETICS