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17 November 2021 Molecular Identification of Sceloporus Lizards in the Laramie Mountains, Wyoming
Kiara W. Milcoff, Wendy A. Estes-Zumpf, Adam D. Leaché
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Accurate information on species identities and distributions is critical for informing state land use and conservation policies. However, it can often be difficult to determine species identity using morphological data alone. Using phylogenetic methods, we determined the identity of Sceloporus lizards occupying the Laramie Mountains of Wyoming, between known ranges for Sceloporus tristichus and Sceloporus consobrinus. The ND1 mitochondrial gene was sequenced for 10 individuals from the Laramie Mountains and analyzed using maximum likelihood with 23 other samples of S. tristichus and S. consobrinus from throughout their ranges. The mtDNA gene tree places the Laramie Mountains populations within a clade of Sceloporus consobrinus that includes the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Given the prevalence of mtDNA introgression in Sceloporus, we also conducted phylogenetic analyses using 4 nuclear loci (RAG-1, R35, BDNF, and PNN) for a subset of samples. Species tree analysis of the nuclear data further verified that the Laramie Mountains population belongs to S. consobrinus. Given the very limited data available on the range, prevalence, and ecology of S. consobrinus in Wyoming, as well its designation as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Wyoming, more research must be done to ensure protection of this population.

© 2021
Kiara W. Milcoff, Wendy A. Estes-Zumpf, and Adam D. Leaché "Molecular Identification of Sceloporus Lizards in the Laramie Mountains, Wyoming," Western North American Naturalist 81(4), 608-614, (17 November 2021).
Received: 30 March 2021; Accepted: 11 June 2021; Published: 17 November 2021
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