Evolution and character congruence in some western Indian Ocean Phelsuma: Numerical analysis of biochemistry, shape and scalation



The evolution of five island populations of Green gecko, representing inter- and intra-specific divergence, was studied using biochemical data, scalation and shape. The data were numerically analysed using ordination analyses for the phenetic classification and Wagner trees to hypothesize the phylogeny. These studies revealed three phenetic groups corresponding to three mono-phyletic lineages. The numerical analysis of morphological data agreed with the numerical analysis of biochemical data. It is concluded that the classification based on biochemical affinities differed from the previous classification based on conventional analysis of morphology due to methodological and philosophical differences rather than differences between morphological and biochemical evolution.

The ordination analyses were very congruent between data sets (biochemical, shape, scalation, total) and the Wagner trees were generally congruent between data sets. Some Wagner trees based on scalation data were incongruent. The phenetic and cladistic classifications corresponded to each other but differed from the conventional classification. The phylogenetic analysis of the total data set indicated that the three specific lineages showed relatively equal anagenesis. However, anagenic divergence differed markedly between character types. It is suggested that a range of character types be used when studying anagenesis.