Systematics, biogeography, taxonomy and delimiting species complexes in the Southeast Asian Lizard Genus Acanthosaura Gray, 1831 inferred from mitochondrial and fast evolving protein coding nuclear loci

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Description: The Southeast Asian lizard genus Acanthosaura is distributed throughout Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Malaysia, and a number of their offshore islands. Here I investigate the phylogenetic relationships of all nine of the currently recognized species of Acanthosaura using one mitochondrial gene (ND2, 859 bp) and four rapidly evolving nuclear genes (RAG1, 1124 bp; PRLR, 535 bp; KIF24, 502 bp; and MXRA5, 860 bp). I used phylogenetic methods, molecular dating, population structure analyses, mismatch distributions and Extended Bayesian Skyline plots to (1) investigate the evolutionary relationships within the genus Acanthosaura ; (2) construct a robust, wellresolved, multi-locus phylogenetic tree that can be used to aid in species delimitations; (3) to investigate if cladogenetic events in Acanthosaura are correlated with geographical barriers and habitat barriers that have been influenced by climatic and eustatic fluctuations; (4) to test isolation and dispersal hypotheses on the Sunda Shelf using Acanthosaura as a model taxon.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work