Molecular phylogeny and systematic of the Schneider's skink Eumeces schneiderii (Daudin, 1802) (Squamata: Scincidae)


Faizi H., Rastegar-Pouyani N., Rastegar-Pouyani E., Rajabizadeh M., ILGAZ Ç., CANDAN K., ...More

JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH, vol.59, no.7, pp.1589-1603, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 59 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jzs.12533
  • Journal Name: JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGICAL SYSTEMATICS AND EVOLUTIONARY RESEARCH
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Geobase, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1589-1603
  • Keywords: 16S, c-mos, cytochrome b, Eumeces, Zagros Mountains, SAURIA SCINCIDAE, GENETIC DIVERSITY, MITOCHONDRIAL, EVOLUTION, PHYLOGEOGRAPHY, DIVERSIFICATION, PLESTIODON, NEUTRALITY, DISPERSAL, SERPENTES
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Eumeces is a little-known group of skinks with few phylogenies published. Within its distribution range, five subspecies were identified for Schneider's Skink (Eumeces schneiderii) based on color pattern, pholidosis, intra- and inter-subspecific relationships, but the validity of these taxa has yet to be assessed using molecular markers. Here, a robust phylogeny of the E. schneiderii group is presented based on three molecular markers (Cytb, 16S rRNA, and c-mos) from 80 samples collected across Anatolia and the Iranian Plateau. Both Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference approaches were used to infer phylogenetic relationships within this group. The results revealed monophyly of E. schneiderii subspecies and Eumeces persicus. These clades also differ in habitat preferences, with the small-bodied, striped forms generally inhabiting lower elevations and drier environments than the larger, uniform morph E. schneiderii subspecies. Molecular-clock dating based on Cytb implies that most speciation events took place during the Upper Miocene to Lower Pliocene. A strongly supported basal dichotomy of Eumeces schneiderii zarudnyi + E. persicus in the southern and eastern slopes of the Zagros Mountains, with the E. schneiderii subspecies in the western Zagros, was identified in all individual and concatenated trees. Eumeces schneiderii zarudnyi should be elevated to species level and, therefore, we propose the name Eumeces zarudnyi for this taxon, increasing the number of species in the genus to seven described species.