A revision of the Bavayia validiclavis group (Squamata: Gekkota: Diplodactylidae), a clade of new caledonian geckos exhibiting microendemism.
The genus Bavayia as currently construed is paraphyletic relative to other New Caledonian diplodactylid geckos. Bavayia validiclavis, from the Massif du Panie in northeastern New Caledonia, is a relatively basal member of the entire New Caledonian diplodactylid radiation and is here recognized as the type species of a new genus characterized by small size and a unique combination of digital and coloration features. Recent surveys of the ultramafic massifs of northwestern New Caledonia have revealed seven additional species assignable to this genus. The new species are morphologically conservative but genetically distinctive from one another. Allopatric apecies occur on the Massif de Koniambo, Mt. Taom, Kaala, the Dome de Tiebaghi and the adjacent Riviere Nehoue, and on the Iles Belep and Ile Yande, off the northern coast of the New Caledonian mainland. Two new species occur sympatrically on Sommet Poum, the northernmost of the mainland ultramafic massifs. Sequence data from the mitochondrial ND2 gene and the nuclear RAG-1 gene yield a single, well-supported phylogenetic hypothesis for the genus and suggest a time of 18.6-19.2 million years to common ancestry. The most recent speciation events in the genus are estimated to have occurred 5.7-10.1 million years ago. Cladogenesis within the genus may be associated with the erosion and fragmentation of ultramafic substrates and/or with climatic and vegetational changes in the region. Because of their very limited distributions, all of the new species are considered to be Endangered or Critically Endangered.
|Main Author:||Bauer, Aaron.|
|Other Authors:||Jackman, Todd., Sadlier, Ross., Whitaker, Anthony.|