Meeting Abstract

65.5  Friday, Jan. 6  Comparative Species Delimitation and Patterns of Cryptic Diversity in an Island Radiation of Fossorial Lizards SILER, CD; University of Kansas

The transition from quadrapedal to limbless body plans has occurred repeatedly in numerous independent lineages of squamates. However, only four genera of lizards possess both fully limbed and limbless species. The known species-level diversity of skinks of the genus Brachymeles is concentrated in the Philippines, with species exhibiting a full range of limb development, including fully limbed, intermediate, and limbless forms. The results of recent phylogenetic analyses of Brachymeles did not support the monophyly of three widespread species in the Philippines. It is clear that the current estimates of species diversity in the genus are greatly underestimated. Island populations within each species complex share high degrees of morphological similarity, making it difficult to diagnose species boundaries. To investigate patterns of cryptic species diversity, I explored methods for species delimitation using both molecular and morphological data, in an attempt to arrive at well-supported estimates of species diversity for the genus. My results indicate that Bayesian species delimitation and model-based clustering methods provide similar results to recent systematic reviews for two of the three species complexes; however, the inferred species boundaries are not always supported to be identical.