Phylogenetic relationships in the iguanid lizard genus
Phylogenetic relationships within the iguanid lizard genus Liolaemus are investigated using 1710 aligned base positions (785 phylogenetically informative) of mitochondrial DNA sequences, representing coding regions for eight tRNAs, ND2, and portions of ND1 and COL Sixty new sequences ranging in length from 1736 to 1754 bases are compared with four previously reported sequences. Liolaemus species form two well‐supported monophyletic groups of subgeneric status, Liolaemus and Eulaemus. These subgenera appear to have separated at least 12.6 million years ago based on the amount of molecular evolutionary divergence between them. Hypotheses that species occurring in the Andes, west of the Andes, and east of the Andes, each comprise distinct monophyletic groups are independently rejected statistically. The shortest estimate of phylogeny suggests mat Liolaemus originated either in the Andes or the eastern lowlands. Numerous evolutionary shifts have occurred between the Andes, and the eastern and western lowlands, suggesting recurring vicariance and dispersal. Species occurring at high elevations or high latitudes usually have viviparous reproduction. Depending on whether parity mode is considered reversible in Liolaemus, the most parsimonious reconstruction supports at least six independent origins of viviparity or at least three gains followed by three losses of viviparity among die 60 Liolaemus lineages examined.
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