The Kuroiwa's eyelid gecko Goniurosaurus kuroiwae is an endangered species in a state of relict endemism in the Central Ryukyus, Japan, and is divided into five subspecies. We analyzed variations in sequence data for approximately 1900 base positions of mitochondrial 12S and 16S rRNA, and cytochrome b genes from samples representing all recognized subspecies of G. kuroiwae together with those from congeneric species in order to test the relevant previous phylogenetic hypotheses and discuss biogeographical implications in the degree and pattern of genetic divergence within G. kuroiwae. Our results, while confirming a previous molecular phylogenetic hypothesis proposed on the basis of much smaller data set, negate the relationships hypothesized on morphological grounds by explicitly supporting: 1) the primary dichotomy, with substantial genetic divergence, between G. k. splendens from the Amami Island Group and the remaining subspecies all from the Okinawa Island Group; and 2) the presence of at least six independent lineages within the latter, indicating non-monophyly for two of the subspecies, G. k. kuroiwae and G. k. orientalis, in the current taxonomic definitions. The marked genetic divergence between populations of the two island groups seems to have initiated in the middle Miocene, i.e., prior to formation of straits that have consistently been separating these two island groups since the early Pleistocene. All populations of G. kuroiwae are regarded as endangered from the viewpoint of conservation genetics.
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Vol. 31 • No. 5