Taxonomy and biogeography of <i>Bunopus spatalurus</i> (Reptilia; Gekkonidae) from the Arabian Peninsula

  • de Pous P
  • Machado L
  • Metallinou M
 et al. 
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In the last decade, taxonomic studies have drastically increased the number of species known to inhabit the Arabian deserts. While ongoing phyloge-netic studies continue to identify new species and high levels of intraspecific genetic diversity, few studies have yet explored the biogeographic pat-terns in this arid region using an integrative approach. In the present work, we apply different phylogenetic methods to infer relationships within the Palearctic naked-toed geckos. We specifically address for the first time the taxonomy and biogeography of Bunopus spatalurus Anderson, 1901, from Arabia using multilocus concatenated and species tree phylogenies, haplotype networks and morphology. We also use species distribution modelling and phylogeographic interpolation to explore the phylogeographic structure of Bunopus spatalurus hajarensis in the Hajar Mountains and the roles of climatic stability and possible biogeographic barriers on lineage occurrence and contact zones in this arid mountain endemism hot spot. According to the inferred topology recovered using concatenated and species tree methods, the genus 'Bunopus' is polyphyletic. Bunopus tuberculatus and B. blan-fordii form a highly supported clade closely related to Crossobamon orientalis, while the two subspecies of 'Bunopus' spatalurus branch together as an independent highly supported clade that diverged during the Miocene according to our estimations. Within B. s. hajarensis, three geographically structured clades can be recognized that according to our estimations diverged during the Late Miocene to Pliocene. The paleodistribution models indi-cate climatic stability during the Late Pleistocene and the lineage occurrence, and predicted contact zones obtained from phylogeographic interpolation therefore probably result from the older splits of the groups when these lineages originated in allopatry. As demonstrated by the results of the multilo-cus molecular phylogenetic analyses and the topological test carried out in this study, the genus 'Bunopus' is not monophyletic. To resolve this, we resurrect the genus Trachydactylus Haas and Battersby, 1959; for the species formerly referred to as Bunopus spatalurus. Considering the morphologi-cal differences, the high level of genetic differentiation in the 12S mitochondrial gene and the results of the phylogenetic and the cmos haplotype net-work analysis, we elevate Trachydactylus spatalurus hajarensis to the species level Trachydactylus hajarensis (Arnold, 1980).

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  • Philip de Pous

  • Luis Machado

  • Margarita Metallinou

  • Jan Červenka

  • Lukáš Kratochvíl

  • Nefeli Paschou

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