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Aguilar C.,Brigham Young University | Aguilar C.,National Major San Marcos University | Stark M.R.,BYU | Arroyo J.A.,BYU | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Morphology | Year: 2015

Viviparity is a remarkable feature in squamate sauropsids and it has evolved multiple times in parallel with the formation of a placenta. One example of this repeated evolution of viviparity and placentation occurs in the species-rich South American genus Liolaemus with at least six independent origins of viviparity. However, evolutionary studies of placentation in this genus are limited by a lack of data on placental morphology. The aim of this study is to describe and compare the microanatomy and vessel diameter (Dv, a function of blood flow) of the placenta using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (cLSM) in two sympatric Andean viviparous but highly divergent species, Liolaemus robustus and Liolaemus walkeri. We found interspecific differences in cell types in the chorion, allantois, and omphalopleure that may be explained by divergent phylogenetic history. Time elapsed since divergence may also explain the pronounced interspecific differences in vessel diameter, and within each species, there are strong differences in Dv between tissue locations. Both species show features to improve gas exchange in the chorioallantoic placenta including absence of eggshell, large Dv in the allantois (L. robustus) or embryonic side of the uterus (L. walkeri), and when present, microvillous cells in the allantois (L. walkeri). Both species also show features that suggest transfer of nutrients or water in the omphaloplacenta, including an almost complete reduction of the eggshell, secretive material (L. robustus), or vesicles (L. walkeri) on cell surface uterus, and when present specialized cells in the omphalopleure (L. walkeri). No statistical differences in Dv were found among stages 32-39 in each species, suggesting that a different mechanism, other than enhanced blood flow, might satisfy the increased oxygen demand of the developing embryos in the hypoxic environments of the high Andes. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Aguilar C.,Brigham Young University | Aguilar C.,National Major San Marcos University | Wood Jr. P.L.,Brigham Young University | Cusi J.C.,Museo De Historia Natural De San Marcos MUSM | And 10 more authors.
ZooKeys | Year: 2013

Species delimitation studies based on integrative taxonomic approaches have received considerable attention in the last few years, and have provided the strongest hypotheses of species boundaries. We used three lines of evidence (molecular, morphological, and niche envelopes) to test for species boundaries in Peruvian populations of the Liolaemus walkeri complex. Our results show that different lines of evidence and analyses are congruent in different combinations, for unambiguous delimitation of three lineages that were "hidden" within known species, and now deserve species status. Our phylogenetic analysis shows that L. walkeri, L. tacnae and the three new species are strongly separated from other species assigned to the alticolor-bibronii group. Few conventional morphological characters distinguish the new species from closely related taxa and this highlights the need to integrate other sources of data to erect strong hypothesis of species limits. A taxonomic key for known Peruvian species of the subgenus Lioalemus is provided. © César Aguilar et al.

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