Between a rock and a hard polytomy: Rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizards (Squamata: Cordylidae)

Stanley E.L. ; Bauer A.M. ; Jackman T.R. ; Branch W.R. ; Mouton P.L.F.N. (2011)


Girdled lizards (Cordylidae) are sub-Saharan Africa's only endemic squamate family and contain 80 nominal taxa, traditionally divided into four genera: Cordylus, Pseudocordylus, Chamaesaura and Platysaurus. Previous phylogenetic analysis revealed Chamaesaura and Pseudocordylus to be nested within Cordylus, and the former genera were sunk into the later. This taxonomic revision has received limited support due to the study's poor taxon sampling, weakly supported results and possible temporary nomenclatural instability. Our study analyzes three nuclear and three mitochondrial genes from 111 specimens, representing 51 ingroup taxa. Parsimony, likelihood and Bayesian analyses of concatenated and partitioned datasets consistently recovered a comb-like tree with 10, well-supported, monophyletic lineages. Our taxonomic reassessment divides the family into 10 genera, corresponding to these well-supported lineages. Short internodes and low support between the non-platysaur lineages are consistent with a rapid radiation event at the base of the viviparous cordylids. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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