Graduation Semester and Year

2018

Language

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Biology

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Eric N Smith

Abstract

Scincid lizards are one of the most diverse group of squamate reptiles, found from tropical to temperate habitats worldwide. In the tropical rain forests of Java, Sumatra, and other parts of the Sunda Shelf biological hotspot a higher diversity of these lizards is expected, particularly in comparison to adjacent terrains. Lack of exploration and cryptic diversity of skinks in these areas might amount for the disproportionate low numbers. Recently, large-scale herpetological exploration of Java and Sumatra has been done as a collaboration between the University of Texas at Arlington, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, and Brawijaya University. Large numbers of amphibians and reptiles, including skink specimens, have resulted from these concerted effort, and are now available for study in herpetological collections. With these new samples, the systematics of skinks in Java and Sumatra is reviewed, using integrated molecular and morphological approaches. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci have been used to estimate a concatenated data phylogeny estimate, as well as, a coalescent species tree, a time calibrated phylogeny, and genetic distance molecular species delimitation. Meristic and mensurable morphological characters have been used in discriminant functional analyses, skull anatomy has been compared, and ecological niche modeling examined for taxonomic consideration. We have studied in detail the Common Sun Skinks of the Eutropis mutifasciata complex, the Asian diminutive forest skinks of the genus Tytthoscincus, and the forest skinks in the genus Sphenomorphus. The results reveal hidden diversity of species in Java and Sumatra, and the occurrence of a new genus and two new species allied to the Sphenomorphus group, two new species of Tytthoscincus, resurrection of a junior synonym and elevating to species level several subspecies of Eutropis and Tytthoscincus. Finally, we transfer several species of Sphenomorphus to Tytthoscincus. The systematic revision of skinks in Java and Sumatra revealed an underestimated diversity, finding that can lead to a reassessment of conservation priority areas and their management.

Keywords

Eutropis mutifasciata complex, Sphenomorphus, taxonomy, Tytthoscincus

Disciplines

Biology | Life Sciences

Comments

Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Biology Commons

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