I focus on phylogenetic relationships of teiid lizards beginning with generic and species relationship within the family, followed by a detailed biogeographical examination of the Caribbean genus Pholidoscelis, and end by studying species boundaries and phylogeographic patterns of the widespread Giant Ameiva Ameiva ameiva. Genomic data (488,656 bp of aligned nuclear DNA) recovered a well-supported phylogeny for Teiidae, showing monophyly for 18 genera including those recently described using morphology and smaller molecular datasets. All three methods of phylogenetic estimation (two species tree, one concatenation) recovered identical topologies except for some relationships within the subfamily Tupinambinae (i.e. position of Salvator and Dracaena) and species relationships within Pholidoscelis, but these were unsupported in all analyses. Phylogenetic reconstruction focused on Caribbean Pholidoscelis recovered novel relationships not reported in previous studies that were based on significantly smaller datasets. Using fossil data, I improve upon divergence time estimates and hypotheses for the biogeographic history of the genus. It is proposed that Pholidoscelis colonized the Caribbean islands through the Lesser Antilles based on biogeographic analysis, the directionality of ocean currents, and evidence that most Caribbean taxa originally colonized from South America. Genetic relationships among populations within the Ameiva ameiva species complex have been poorly understood as a result of its continental-scale distribution and an absence of molecular data for the group. Mitochondrial ND2 data for 357 samples from 233 localities show that A. ameiva may consist of up to six species, with pairwise genetic distances among these six groups ranging from 4.7–12.8%. An examination of morphological characters supports the molecular findings with prediction accuracy of the six clades reaching 72.5% using the seven most diagnostic predictors.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Biology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Tucker, Derek B., "Molecular Studies of South American Teiid Lizards (Teiidae: Squamata) from Deep Time to Shallow Divergences" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 6419.
Ameiva, anchored phylogenomics, BioGeoBEARS, Caribbean, concatenation, dispersal, divergence dating, Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles, phylogenetics, South America, species tree, systematics, tegu, whiptail