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Padre Burgos, Philippines

Welton L.J.,Brigham Young University | Siler C.D.,University of South Dakota | Linkem C.W.,University of Washington | Diesmos A.C.,Herpetology Section | And 3 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2013

We provide a phylogenetic and population genetic evaluation of the illegal pet and bush meat trade of monitor lizards in the Philippines. We use a molecular dataset assembled from vouchered samples with known localities throughout the country, as a reference for statistical phylogenetic, population genetic, and DNA barcoding analyses of genetic material obtained during a three year survey of the Manila pet trade. Our results provide the first genetic evaluation of a major Southeast Asian city's illegal trade in monitors and allow us to establish several important conclusions regarding actual, versus reported, origins of Manila's black market Varanus. Monitor lizards are clearly transported throughout the archipelago for trade; we identified genotypes from areas surrounding Manila, the distinct Bicol faunal subregion of Luzon, Mindanao Island, the Visayan islands, islands of the Romblon Province, the Babuyan islands, and Mindoro Island. Numerous species are involved, including multiple endemic Philippine taxa, the threatened Gray's monitor (Varanus olivaceus), and the presumably non-Philippine rough-neck monitor (Varanus rudicollis). Our results suggest that traders frequently and deliberately misrepresent the provenance of traded animals, in an apparent effort to increase their perceived market value. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Linkem C.W.,University of Kansas | Diesmos A.C.,Herpetology Section | Brown R.M.,University of Kansas
Herpetologica | Year: 2010

A new species of medium-sized Sphenomorphus is described from the biogeographically enigmatic island of Palawan in the western Philippines. This species represents only the third skink in the genus Sphenomorphus found on Palawan Island. The new species is compared with other Sphenomorphus found on Palawan and with phenotypically similar species in the genus from throughout its range. To aid in future identification of Sphenomorphus specimens from Palawan, we provide a key to the species from this island. © 2010 The Herpetologists' League, Inc. Source

Siler C.D.,University of Kansas | Diesmos A.C.,Herpetology Section | Alcala A.C.,Silliman University | Brown R.M.,University of Kansas
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2011

The spectacular, virtually endemic radiation of Philippine semi-fossorial skinks of the genus Brachymeles represent one of the few radiations of scincid lizards to possess both fully limbed and limbless species. And yet, nothing is known of the phylogenetic relationships of this exceptional group. Morphologically similar body plans have made it difficult to assess species-level diversity, and the genus has long been recognized as one of the more modest radiations of southeast Asian lizards. However, recent large-scale survey efforts have resulted in the discovery of numerous new species, and taxonomic studies indicate that the diversity within the genus Brachymeles is grossly underestimated. In this study we provide the first robust estimate of phylogenetic relationships within the genus Brachymeles using a multi-locus dataset and nearly complete taxonomic sampling. We provide statistical tests of monophyly for all polytypic species and two widespread limb-reduced species and our results indicate wholesale deviations from past summaries and taxonomic evaluations of the genus. With few exceptions, we are able to reject the monophyly of all polytypic and widespread species, thereby validating the need for large-scale taxonomic revisions. Our results reveal that the limbless, monotypic, genus Davewakeum is nested within Brachymeles. Mapping of body form on our preferred phylogenetic tree suggests that limb-reduction and digit loss has occurred on multiple occasions in the history of the genus. A Bayesian reconstruction of ancestral areas indicates strong statistical support for a minimum of five major dispersal events that have given rise to a major component of the observed species diversity on separate Pleistocene aggregate island platforms of the archipelago. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. Source

Siler C.D.,University of Kansas | Oaks J.R.,University of Kansas | Esselstyn J.A.,University of Kansas | Diesmos A.C.,Herpetology Section | Brown R.M.,University of Kansas
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

In the Philippines, Pleistocene sea level oscillations repeatedly connected and isolated neighboring islands. Hence, an understanding of the island platforms adjoined during periods of low sea level has led biologists to a suite of expectations that, taken together, represent a paradigm for the process of recent diversification in southeast Asia. We employ statistical tests of phylogenetic topology and population genetic analyses of widespread species of bent-toed geckos (Cyrtodactylus) to ascertain whether patterns of inter- and intra-specific diversity can be explained by a Pleistocene aggregate island model of diversification. Contrary to many classic studies of Philippine vertebrates, we find complex patterns that are only partially explained by past island connectivity. In particular, we determine that some populations inhabiting previously united island groups show substantial genetic divergence and are inferred to be polyphyletic. Additionally, greater genetic diversity is found within islands, than between them. Among the topological patterns inconsistent with the Pleistocene model, we note some similarities with other lineages, but no obviously shared causal mechanisms are apparent. Finally, we infer well-supported discordance between the gene trees inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences of two species, which we suspect is the result of incomplete lineage sorting. This study contributes to a nascent body of literature suggesting that the current paradigm for Philippine biogeography is an oversimplification requiring revision. Source

Bauer A.M.,Villanova University | Jackman T.R.,Villanova University | Greenbaum E.,Villanova University | Greenbaum E.,University of Texas at El Paso | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

Hemidactylus geckos are a species-rich component of many tropical lizard assemblages. We sampled deeply among tropical Asian, and especially South Asian, taxa and used a multi-gene approach to establish the affinities of Indian and Sri Lankan Hemidactylus and to evaluate the monophyly of previously proposed taxa within the genus. There is only weak support for the monophyly of tropical Asian Hemidactylus as a whole, but two strongly supported subclades were retrieved: the bowringii group is a predominantly East Asian clade that reaches South Asia only peripherally; the brookii group is a morphologically diverse clade that represents a previously unrecognized, species-rich (25 species), chiefly South Asian radiation. Deep genetic divergences support the specific recognition of three Sri Lankan taxa previously regarded as subspecies of mainland forms and validate H. subtriedrus as a species distinct from H. triedrus. Unlike several other vertebrate groups, Sri Lankan Hemidactylus do not represent a single insular radiation. Rather, each of six Sri Lankan species reached the island independently from different continental sources. There have been extensive Quaternary land connections between India and Sri Lanka but sister-species pairs of Hemidactylus on the two land masses diverged from one another much earlier, probably in the mid-Miocene. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

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