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Biogeographic anomaly or human introduction: a cryptogenic population of tree skink (Reptilia
 

Summary: Biogeographic anomaly or human introduction:
a cryptogenic population of tree skink (Reptilia:
Squamata) from the Cook Islands, Oceania
ALISON M. HAMILTON1
*, GEORGE R. ZUG2
and CHRISTOPHER C. AUSTIN1
1
Department of Biological Sciences, Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, 119
Foster Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
2
Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History,
PO Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA
Received 22 September 2009; revised 1 February 2010; accepted for publication 1 February 2010bij_1437 318..328
Archaeological and molecular data have revealed that the present day faunas of many island groups in Melanesia,
Polynesia, and Micronesia are not representative of the biodiversity generated within this region on an evolu-
tionary timescale. Erroneous inferences regarding the mechanisms of speciation and the significance of long
distance dispersal in shaping the present diversity of these island systems have resulted from this incomplete
diversity and distributional data. The lizard fauna east of Samoa has been suggested to derive entirely from
human-mediated introductions, a distribution congruent with biogeographic patterns for other Pacific species.
Distinguishing between introduced populations and those that result from natural colonization events is difficult,

  

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

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology