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Parachute geckos free fall into synonymy: Gekko phylogeny, and a new subgeneric classification, inferred from thousands of ultraconserved elements

Citation

Wood, Perry et al. (2020), Parachute geckos free fall into synonymy: Gekko phylogeny, and a new subgeneric classification, inferred from thousands of ultraconserved elements, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7m0cfxpqk

Abstract

Recent phylogenetic studies of gekkonid lizards have revealed unexpected, widespread paraphyly and polyphyly among genera, unclear generic boundaries, and a tendency towards the nesting of taxa exhibiting specialized, apomorphic morphologies within geographically widespread “generalist” clades. This is especially true in Australasia, where monophyly of Gekko proper has been questioned with respect to phenotypically ornate flap-legged geckos of the genus Luperosaurus, the Philippine false geckos of the genus Pseudogekko, and even the elaborately “derived” parachute geckos of the genus Ptychozoon. Here we employ sequence capture targeting 5060 ultraconserved elements to infer phylogenomic relationships among 42 representative ingroup gekkonine lizard taxa. We analyze multiple datasets of varying degrees of completeness (10, 50, 75, 95, and 100 percent complete with 4715, 4051, 3376, 2366, and 772 UCEs, respectively) using concatenated maximum likelihood and multispecies coalescent methods. Our sampling scheme addresses four persistent systematic questions in this group: (1) Are Luperosaurus and Ptychozoon monophyletic, and are any of these named species truly nested within Gekko? (2) Are prior phylogenetic estimates of Sulawesi’s L. iskandari as the sister taxon to Melanesian G. vittatus supported by our genome-scale dataset? (3) Is the high-elevation L. gulat of Palawan Island correctly placed within Gekko? (4) And, finally, where do the enigmatic taxa P. rhacophorus and L. browni fall in a higher-level gekkonid phylogeny? We resolve these issues; confirm with strong support some previously inferred findings (placement of Ptychozoon taxa within Gekko; the sister taxon relationship between  L. iskandari and G. vittatus); resolve the systematic position of unplaced taxa (L. gulat, and L. browni); and transfer L. iskandari, L. gulat, L. browni, and all members of the genus Ptychozoon to the genus Gekko. Our unexpected and novel systematic inference of the placement of Ptychozoon rhacophorus suggests that this species is not grouped with Ptychozoon or even Luperosaurus (as previously expected) but may, in fact, be most closely related to several Indochinese species of Gekko. With our resolved and strongly-supported phylogeny, we present a new classification emphasizing the most inclusive, original generic name (Gekko) for these ~60 taxa, arranged into seven new subgenera.