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Evaluating and Reconstructing the Genetic Diversity of Butterfly Lizards of the Genus Leiolepis Cuvier, 1829 (Reptilia: Squamata: Agamidae) in Central Vietnam

Xuan T. T. Phan, Binh Van Ngo, Huy D. Nguyen, Quang T. Hoang, Chung D. Ngo, Chinh T. Bui, Ty Nguyen, Nghiep T. Hoang


Studies on genetic relationships and phylogenetic origins, and mutations in nucleotide of Leiolepis in central Vietnam are limited. In this study, thirty-five representative samples of four species (Leiolepis reevesii, L. guttata, L. guentherpetersi, and L. rubritaeniata) from multiple provinces in central Vietnam were collected for identification based on 16S rRNA sequences. The results from phylogenetic analyses showed that L. rubritaeniata is highly genetically conserved and was unique for the Central Highland areas. Patterns, colors, and genetic characteristics of the population of L. reevesii in Thanh Hoa Province exhibited differences between the populations in Thua Thien Hue Province. The population of L. guentherpetersi had the closest sister relationship to the population of L. guttata found in the same province, supporting a hypothesis that the origin of the triploid L. guentherpetersi from L. guttata. Leiolepis reevesii populations found in Thanh Hoa and Thua Thien Hue provinces were not in the same clade for both morphology and genetics. Lastly, the overall similarity between L. rubritaeniata and L. reevesii populations further suggesting that both species were originally from the same clade with a diversification occuring to adapt to the ecological conditions.


butterfly lizards; Central Vietnam; phylogenetics; Leiolepis; morphology; genetics.

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