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Molecular and morphological evolution in the south-central Pacific skink Emoia tongana

Summary: Molecular and morphological evolution in the
south-central Pacific skink Emoia tongana
(Reptilia:Squamata): uniformity and
human-mediated dispersal
Christopher C. AustinA and George R. ZugB
AEvolutionary Biology Unit, Australian Museum, 6 College Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia. Present address: Institute of Statistical Mathematics,
4-6-7 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8569, Japan. E-mail: caustin@ism.ac.jp
BDepartment of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History,
Washington, DC 20560, USA.
Human-mediated and waif dispersal are both responsible for the distribution of lizards on tropical Pacific
islands. The component of each of these dispersal modes to the Pacific herpetofauna, however, is unclear.
Morphological conservatism of Pacific lizards, the poor paleontological record on tropical Pacific islands,
and minimal research effort in the Pacific (compared with other island systems) has hampered our
understanding of waif versus human-mediated patterns. We examine morphological and genetic variation of
Emoia concolor and E. tongana (formerly E. murphyi), two scincid lizards, from the south-central Pacific, to
assess modes of dispersal and population structure. Emoia tongana from Tonga and Samoa is genetically
uniform, suggesting that these are synanthropic populations recently introduced, presumably from Fiji.
Relatively large genetic divergence is evident for populations of E. concolor within the Fijian archipelago,


Source: Austin, Christopher C. - Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology