Molecular phylogenetics of malagasy skinks (squamata: Scincidae)

  • Whiting A
  • Sites J
  • Bauer A
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Abstract

Malagasy skinks are a poorly known group, and their relationships have not been critically evaluated previously. In this paper we present a phylogeny of Malagasy “scincine” lizards, based on quantitative phylogenetic analysis of data from seven molecular markers. Our analysis confirms the paraphyly of “Amphiglossus”, and supports Madascincus as a valid genus. Pygomeles is sister to three groups of “Amphiglossus” and Voeltzkowia, but relationships within this clade are tenuous. Paracontias is monophyletic, but the subgenera Malacontias and Paracontias are not supported. These data support the monophyly of all sampled Malagasy “scincines” as well as a southern African + Malagasy “scincine” clade. Despite their low vagility, these skinks appear to have reached Madagascar by dispersal over water, rather than as a result of vicariance.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Amphiglossus
  • Gapdh
  • Madagascar
  • Phylogeny
  • Scincidae
  • Scincinae
  • α-Enolase

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