Diversification patterns of pebble-mimic dragons are consistent with historical disruption of important habitat corridors in arid Australia

L. P. Shoo, R. Rose, P. Doughty, J. J. Austin, J. Melville

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55 Citations (Scopus)


The pebble-mimic dragon lineage of Tympanocryptis is widely distributed in the stony, or 'gibber', deserts of Australia but is noticeably absent from intersecting areas of sand deserts. Past fluctuations in the extent and configuration of sandy desert habitat barriers are likely to have been an import factor promoting genetic differentiation in this group. We sequenced a ∼1400 bp region of mitochondrial DNA and a ∼1400 bp nuclear gene (RAG-1) to investigate phylogeographic structuring of species of pebble-mimic dragons. Our topology indicates an early split in this lineage between eastern and western parts of the arid zone that probably dates to the mid-Miocene. This split corresponds directly with large expanses of contemporary sandy habitat in the form of Great Sandy and Great Victoria Deserts. Our data indicate that this biogeographic barrier established very early on in the development of the arid zone and has persisted to present. Additional genetic structuring in the absence of recognized barriers suggests that an expanded view of potential habitat barriers in the arid zone is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-542
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Agamidae
  • Deserts
  • Dispersal corridors
  • Historical biogeography
  • Molecular systematics
  • Phylogeography
  • Pilbara
  • Sandplain

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