Out of the blue: a novel, trans-Atlantic clade of geckos (Gekkota, Squamata)


  • Tony Gamble,

  • Aaron M Bauer,

  • Eli Greenbaum,

  • Todd R Jackman

Corresponding author: Tony Gamble, Conservation Biology Graduate Program, Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA. E-mail: gambl007@umn.edu
Aaron M. Bauer, Department of Biology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA. E-mail: aaron.bauer@villanova.edu
Eli Greenbaum, Department of Biology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA. E-mail: eli.greenbaum@villanova.edu
Todd R. Jackman, Department of Biology, Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085, USA. E-mail: todd.jackman@villanova.edu


Phylogenetic relationships among gekkotan lizards were estimated from five nuclear protein-coding genes in separate and combined analyses using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses. All analyses recovered a monophyletic trans-Atlantic gecko clade (Phyllodactylidae) consisting of the genera Asaccus, Haemodracon, Homonota, Phyllodactylus, Phyllopezus, Ptyodactylus, Tarentola and Thecadactylus. No other phylogenetic or taxonomic hypotheses have proposed linking these genera, which have been consistently grouped with other taxa outside of the clade. In this paper, we determine the relationships of this new clade to other major gekkotan groups, evaluate previous phylogenetic hypotheses regarding constituent members of this novel clade, and critically examine the use of historically important morphological characters in gekkotan systematics as they relate to this novel clade, specifically — phalangeal formulae, hyoid morphology and external structure of the toe-pads.