The British Herpetological Society

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.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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pdf 05. The identity and probable origin of the Hemidactylus geckos of the Maldives


Open Access

pp. 230-236

Authors: Ishan Agarwal, Daniel Jablonski & Aaron M Bauer

Abstract: The Maldives are coral reef islands of Holocene origin with no endemic terrestrial herpetofauna. The few species that have been reported from the region have affinities with Sri Lanka, south and south-east Asia, and are considered relatively recent introductions by humans. Recent collections of Hemidactylus geckos from the Maldives allowed us to identify and reconstruct the probable origin of this genus on the islands. We combine mitochondrial DNA (ND2) sequence data for the new collections with published sequences to reconstruct evolutionary relationships. The two species of Hemidactylus in the Maldives are H. frenatus and H. parvimaculatus, with affinities to south-east Asia and Sri Lanka, respectively. Suggestive of multiple introductions, each species included multiple haplotypes, only one of which was previously recorded (in Sri Lanka); other haplotypes showed similarities to records from south-east Asia. Unravelling the colonisation patterns of house geckos in the Maldives requires a more complete knowledge of the natural variation across the range of the widely distributed source species.

Keywords: Hemidactylus brookii; Hemidactylus frenatus; Hemidactylus parvimaculatus; human commensal; India; Sri Lanka

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