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Tuesday, April 24 • 12:00pm - 1:30pm
A New Species Of Dwarf Gecko (Sphaerodactylus) From The Virgin Islands

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West Indian dwarf geckos, belonging to the genus Sphaerodactylus, are found throughout the Caribbean, with eleven species found on the Puerto Rican islands alone. Despite huge diversity and widespread abundance, comprehensive multi-locus phylogenetic studies of this group are largely lacking, or are based on older methods such as allozyme data. As part of a larger study on the phylogenetics of Puerto Rican herpetofauna, a molecular phylogeny of 16S RNA mitochondrial sequence data suggested that a cryptic and potentially new species of the Sphaerodactylus macrolepis complex might inhabit the Virgin Islands to the east of Puerto Rico. To confirm the relationship of this new species to Sphaerodactylus macrolepis sensu lato, we generated additional molecular sequence data for the mitochondrial genes CYTB and ND2, as well as for the nuclear genes RAG, ACM, and CMOS- a total of several thousand base pairs of data across most species of Puerto Rican Sphaerodactylus. Our combined analyses using Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood analyses support recognition of a new species of dwarf gecko from the Virgin Islands distinct from S. macrolepis, which we are in the process of naming. Subsequent studies will determine morphological, behavioral, and phenotypic uniqueness of this species.

Tuesday April 24, 2018 12:00pm - 1:30pm PDT
Sherrill Center Concourse

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