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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021 / Karstic Landscapes Are Foci of Species Diversity in the World’s Third-Largest Vertebrate Genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Reptilia: Squamata; Gekkonidae)

Lee Grismer, Perry L. Wood, Nikolay A. Poyarkov, Minh D. Le, Suranjan Karunarathna, Siriwadee Chomdej, Chatmongkon Suwannapoom, Shuo Qi, Shuo Liu, Jing Che, Evan S. Quah, Fred Kraus, Paul M. Oliver, Awal Riyanto, Olivier S. Pauwels and Jesse L. Grismer (2021)

Karstic Landscapes Are Foci of Species Diversity in the World’s Third-Largest Vertebrate Genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Reptilia: Squamata; Gekkonidae)

Diversity, 13(5):183.

Karstic landscapes are immense reservoirs of biodiversity and range-restricted endemism. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world’s third-largest vertebrate genus Cyrtodactylus (Gekkonidae) which contains well over 300 species. A stochastic character mapping analysis of 10 different habitat preferences across a phylogeny containing 345 described and undescribed species recovered a karst habitat preference occurring in 25.0% of the species, whereas that of the other eight specific habitat preferences occurred in only 0.2–11.0% of the species. The tenth category—general habitat preference—occurred in 38.7% of the species and was the ancestral habitat preference for Cyrtodactylus and the ultimate origin of all other habitat preferences. This study echoes the results of a previous study illustrating that karstic landscapes are generators of species diversity within Cyrtodactylus and not simply “imperiled arks of biodiversity” serving as refugia for relics. Unfortunately, the immense financial returns of mineral extraction to developing nations largely outweighs concerns for biodiversity conservation, leaving approximately 99% of karstic landscapes with no legal protection. This study continues to underscore the urgent need for their appropriate management and conservation. Additionally, this analysis supports the monophyly of the recently proposed 31 species groups and adds one additional species group.
Peer Review, Impact Factor
https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050183
Filed under: Peer Review, Impact Factor