Volume 43 Issue 5
Sep.  2022
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Ade Prasetyo Agung, Ada Chornelia, L. Lee Grismer, Jesse L. Grismer, Evan S. H. Quah, Jian-Mei Lu, Kyle W. Tomlinson, Alice C. Hughes. Description of two new species of Hemiphyllodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from karst landscapes in Yunnan, China, highlights complex conservation needs. Zoological Research, 2022, 43(5): 767-786. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.105
Citation: Ade Prasetyo Agung, Ada Chornelia, L. Lee Grismer, Jesse L. Grismer, Evan S. H. Quah, Jian-Mei Lu, Kyle W. Tomlinson, Alice C. Hughes. Description of two new species of Hemiphyllodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from karst landscapes in Yunnan, China, highlights complex conservation needs. Zoological Research, 2022, 43(5): 767-786. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.105

Description of two new species of Hemiphyllodactylus (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from karst landscapes in Yunnan, China, highlights complex conservation needs

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.105
Funds:  This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1602265, Mapping Karst Biodiversity in Yunnan), Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (XDA20050202), High-End Foreign Experts Program of Yunnan Province (Y9YN021B01, Yunnan Bioacoustic Monitoring Program), CAS 135 Program (2017XTBG-T03), and Chinese Academy of Sciences Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Center Fund (Y4ZK111B01).
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  • Karst habitats are hotspots of diversity and endemism. Their naturally fragmented distributions across broad geographic landscapes have led to the complex array of smaller evolutionary ecosystems that present unique challenges from a conservation perspective. Comprehensive biodiversity assessments of karst habitats have revealed that these ecosystems contain an almost unparalleled level of endemism, and many site-restricted species remain undescribed, thus posing considerable challenges for effective conservation management. Small rock-dwelling species, such as geckos, may be particularly prone to such isolation. In this paper, we discuss one such genus, i.e., Hemiphyllodactylus, and explore its diversity across karst landforms in Yunnan Province, southwestern China. Based on morphological and genetic data, we describe two new species of Hemiphyllodactylus from karst habitats in Simao District and Yanshan County. A phylogenetic tree for Hemiphyllodactylus was constructed using 1 039 base pairs (bp) of the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 gene (ND2). The Simao and Yanshan specimens can be distinguished from all other congeners within their respective subclades based on uncorrected genetic pairwise distances greater than 6.3% and 4.3% respectively, as well as significant morphological differences. The discovery and description of these two new species brings the total number of described Hemiphyllodactylus species in China to 14 and indicates many more undescribed species from unsurveyed karst regions await discovery. Our findings suggest that karst ecosystems in Yunnan support a higher diversity of Hemiphyllodactylus than previously known. This study also highlights the importance of karst ecosystems as refugia for site-specific endemic species and the need for heightened conservation efforts.
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