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The hills are alive with geckos! A radiation of a dozen species on sky islands across peninsular India (Squamata: Gekkonidae, Hemiphyllodactylus) with the description of three new species

Agarwal, Ishan and Khandekar, Akshay and Giri, Varad B and Ramakrishnan, Uma and Karanth, K Praveen (2019) The hills are alive with geckos! A radiation of a dozen species on sky islands across peninsular India (Squamata: Gekkonidae, Hemiphyllodactylus) with the description of three new species. In: ORGANISMS DIVERSITY & EVOLUTION, 19 (2). pp. 341-361.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13127-019-00392-5

Abstract

Sky Islands are high-elevation environments that are separated by warmer, low elevations, forming natural patches of unique montane habitat that often persist through changing climates. Peninsular India was ancestrally forested and has gradually become more arid since at least the Oligocene, and open landscapes have dominated since the middle-late Miocene. Mesic forests today are largely restricted to coastal mountains and some other montane habitats. A mitochondrial phylogeny and fossil-calibrated timetree of Indian Hemiphyllodactylus reveal an Indochinese origin and an endemic radiation with 12 species-level lineages, where a single species was known, that diversified in the Oligocene-Miocene across montane forest habitats in the Eastern Ghats and south India. The phylogeny also suggests the discontinuous Eastern Ghats mountain range encompasses two distinct biogeographic entities: north and south of the Pennar/Krishna-Godavari River basins. This studyhighlights the deep history of the region and the importance of montane habitats as islands of unique biodiversity that have persisted through millions of years of changing climates. We describe three new species: Hemiphyllodactylus arakuensis sp. nov., H. jnana sp. nov. and H. kolliensis sp. nov. from montane habitats above 1000m. The montane habitats of these species are emerging hotspots of reptile endemism, and this study emphasizes the need for systematic biodiversity inventory across India to uncover basic patterns of diversity and distribution.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: copyright for this article belongs to ORGANISMS DIVERSITY & EVOLUTION
Keywords: Biogeography; Divergence dating; Eastern Ghats; Systematics; Western Ghats
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 15:10
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2019 15:10
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/63047

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