文獻來源: Daniels SR, Heideman NJL, Hendricks MGJ. 2009. Examination of evolutionary relationships in the Cape fossorial skink species complex (Acontinae: Acontias meleagris meleagris) reveals the presence of five cryptic lineages. Zoologica Scripta 38(5): 449-463.
Variable morphological characters have obscured genealogical relationships in the Cape fossorial skink Acontias meleagris meleagris species complex. Currently the species complex contains four dubious operational taxonomic units (A. meleagris meleagris, A. m. orientalis, A. percivali tasmani and the morph lineicauda) with poorly defined species boundaries. In the present study we examine the evolutionary relationships within the species complex by sampling 24 skink populations from the known geographical distribution in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, representing a total of 119 specimens. We used partial sequence data derived from two mitochondrial DNA genes, 16S rRNA and COI, and one nuclear DNA gene, intron β-fibrinogen (β-fibint 7), to examine evolutionary relationships. Phylogenetic relationships were determined using both Maximum Parsimony (MP) and Bayesian inference (BI) from the combined mtDNA, nDNA and the total evidence data. Additionally we employed Maximum likelihood (ML) analyses on the total evidence data that comprised ∼1.5 kb. Topologies derived from the combined mtDNA analyses were congruent with the total evidence analyses (mtDNA + nDNA) and retrieved five major clades with strong statistical support inferred from bootstrapping and posterior probabilities. The five clades were genealogically and geographically exclusive, diagnostic at both the mtDNA and nDNA level and characterized by pronounced sequence divergence, with no shared haplotypes between clades. Collectively these results suggest the presence of five putative cryptic operational taxonomic units within the A. meleagris meleagris species complex. Constraining the traditionally recognized taxa always retrieved a statistically worse topology suggesting that considerable taxonomic revision is required. Our results indicate that traditional morphological characters need to be reassessed to define the five novel lineages in the A. meleagris meleagris species complex. The phylogeographic pattern for the fossorial skinks we retrieved was novel compared to phylogeographic studies for codistributed above ground living taxa. These results suggest that the abiotic and biotic factors that impact subterranean taxa may differ from supraterranean taxa.
圖片連結: SCARCE (photo credit: John Ross McGregor)