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Data from: The challenge of species delimitation at the extremes: diversification without morphological change in Philippine sun skinks

Citation

Barley, Anthony J.; White, Jordan; Diesmos, Arvin C.; Brown, Rafe M. (2013), Data from: The challenge of species delimitation at the extremes: diversification without morphological change in Philippine sun skinks, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.307g0

Abstract

Species represent one of the fundamental units of the evolutionary process, and an accurate understanding of species diversity is essential to studies across a wide range of biological subdisciplines. However, delimiting species remains challenging in evolutionary radiations where morphological diversification is rapid and accompanied by little genetic differentiation or when genetic lineage divergence is not accompanied by morphological change. We investigate the utility of a variety of recently developed approaches to examine genetic and morphological diversity, and delimit species in a morphologically conserved group of Southeast Asian lizards. We find that species diversity is vastly underestimated in this unique evolutionary radiation, and find an extreme case where extensive genetic divergence among lineages has been accompanied by little to no differentiation in external morphology. Although we note that different conclusions can be drawn when species are delimited using molecular phylogenetics, coalescent-based methods, or morphological data, it is clear that the use of a pluralistic approach leads to a more comprehensive appraisal of biodiversity, and greater appreciation for processes of diversification in this biologically important geographic region. Similarly, our approach demonstrates how recently developed methodologies can be utilized to obtain robust estimates of species limits in “non-adaptive” or “cryptic” evolutionary radiations.

Usage Notes

Location

Philippines
Palau
Malaysia