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Deep genetic differentiation within Janetaescincus spp. (Squamata: Scincidae) from the Seychelles Islands

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Genetic diversity within the burrowing skink genus Janetaescincus, endemic to the granitic Seychelles Islands, was assessed using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Considerable diversity was recovered, up to 15.9% for the partial cytochrome b gene sequences, with at least three groups distinguishable at a level of differentiation more typically observed between species. Even within small islands such as Silhouette and Fr├ęgate, multiple clades co-occur, and within Silhouette this seems at least partially related to altitude. Comparisons between markers may indicate some hybridisation between clades. Dating estimates suggest these splits occurred within the Miocene, and were therefore not directly associated with Pleistocene sea level changes. We recommend referring to a species complex pending an integrative taxonomic revision of the group.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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