Special Issue "The Evolutionary History and Biogeography of Herpetofauna"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021) | Viewed by 2942

Special Issue Editor

Comenius University in Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
Interests: evolutionary history; biogeography; taxonomy; conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Eurasia

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Diversity at different levels is one of the most important terms defining planet Earth. The diversity of herpetofauna, using phylogenetic and phylogeographic approaches, is currently being intensively studied throughout the world and it has a significant impact on our overall knowledge regarding past historical evolutionary processes and biogeography. Of course, it also has an impact on the taxonomy and conservation of these vertebrates. Studying their evolutionary history leads to the description of hundreds of new amphibians and reptile species each year, resulting today in more than 11,000 living reptiles and 8000 amphibians. It shows how we still have big knowledge gaps regarding the species diversity of the Earth. Simultaneously, such research also shows how underestimated the diversity of life hidden in DNA is. Finally, increasing knowledge on the genetic diversity of particular species or species complexes also allows their more sensitive protection not only on the species level, but also on a population level on a small geographic scale. Therefore, this Special Issue provides a place to highlight new research and significant advances in understanding particular challenges in the evolutionary history and biogeography of herpetofauna.

Dr. Daniel Jablonski
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • phylogeography
  • speciation
  • species diversity
  • evolution
  • biodiversity hotspots

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Revisited Molecular Phylogeny of the Genus Sphaerotheca (Anura: Dicroglossidae): The Biogeographic Status of Northernmost Populations and Further Taxonomic Changes
Diversity 2021, 13(5), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13050216 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2379
Heretofore, the populations of the genus Sphaerotheca Günther, 1859 (Dicroglossidae) in their northern and western borders laying in Pakistan have been assigned to two species, S. breviceps (Schneider, 1799) and S. strachani (Murray, 1884). The genus originated in the Oriental zoogeographic region and [...] Read more.
Heretofore, the populations of the genus Sphaerotheca Günther, 1859 (Dicroglossidae) in their northern and western borders laying in Pakistan have been assigned to two species, S. breviceps (Schneider, 1799) and S. strachani (Murray, 1884). The genus originated in the Oriental zoogeographic region and comes to close geographic proximity with the Palearctic region in Pakistan. The recent molecular studies have on one hand restricted the distribution range of S. breviceps to the eastern coastal plains of India and, on the other hand, revealed the northern- and westernmost population in India as a separate species, S. pashchima Padhye et al., 2017. This species has recently been synonymized with S. maskeyi (Schleich and Anders, 1998). These taxonomic changes, however, warranted the need for validation of Pakistani Sphaerotheca based on genetic data. We sequenced and analyzed 16S rRNA mitochondrial gene from specimens originating from the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan and compared these with all available GenBank sequences of the genus. Based on this data, we conclude that the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan are occupied by S. maskeyi. Simultaneously, we bring the first record of this species for the Palearctic region. We further suggest that more genetic material from across Pakistan is required to ascertain the validity of S. strachani and for the phylogeographic evaluation of western and northern border populations of the genus. Our geographically wide and revisited molecular phylogeny shows that the genus exhibits genetic diversity suggesting further taxonomic changes. The low level of genetic divergences between S. breviceps and S. magadha Prasad et al., 2019 compared to other species of the genus, indicates that the taxonomic status of S. magadha is questionable. Moreover, we found that S. magadha and S. swani (Mayers and Leviton, 1956) are genetically conspecific with S. breviceps and both should be thus considered its junior synonyms. On the other hand, S. dobsonii and populations from Myanmar need further detailed investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary History and Biogeography of Herpetofauna)
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