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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2010 Feb;54(2):583-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

The hidden diversity of Coleodactylus amazonicus (Sphaerodactylinae, Gekkota) revealed by molecular data.

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Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Cidade Universitaria, 05508-090 São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Coleodactylus amazonicus, a small leaf-litter diurnal gecko widely distributed in Amazon Basin, has been considered a single species with no significant morphological differences between populations along its range. A recent molecular study, however, detected large genetic differences between populations of central Amazonia and those in the easternmost part of the Amazon Basin, suggesting the presence of taxonomically unrecognised diversity. In this study, DNA sequences of three mitochondrial (16S, cytb, and ND4) and two nuclear genes (RAG-1, c-mos) were used to investigate whether the species currently identified as C.amazonicus contains morphologically cryptic species lineages. The present phylogenetic analysis reveals further genetic subdivision including at least five potential species lineages, restricted to northeastern (lineage A), southeastern (lineage B), central-northern (lineage E) and central-southern (lineages C and D) parts of Amazon Basin. All clades are characterized by exclusive groups of alleles for both nuclear genes and highly divergent mitochondrial haplotype clades, with corrected pairwise net sequence divergence between sister lineages ranging from 9.1% to 20.7% for the entire mtDNA dataset. Results of this study suggest that the real diversity of "C. amazonicus" has been underestimated due to its apparent cryptic diversification.

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