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The collared treerunner is more than a single species
Date:11/25/2013

The lowland tropics were once though filled with widespread species, while moderate and higher elevations were thought to contain species with more restricted distributions. That idea is turning out to be partially incorrect. Widespread species now appear to be the exception, instead of the rule. A new study describes four species once considered to be the collared treerunner, a lizard known to the scientific community as Plica plica. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The collared treerunner was originally described in 1758 and has been the subject of many biological, ecological, and behavioral studies in recent years. A new ZooKeys paper by John C. Murphy, Field Museum (Chicago) and Michael J. Jowers, Estacin Biolgica de Doana (Sevilla, Spain) describe four new species formerly thought to be one.

"The collard treerunner was considered a single species ranging from Trinidad and Tobago and northern Venezuela southward into the Amazon Basin, south of the Amazon River." Murphy said. " The Treerunners ancestor diverged about 25-30 million years ago, and throughout this time the South American continent has undergone dramatic remodeling, including the rise of the Andes, rising and falling sea levels, and changing climates that isolated populations for long periods of time, allowing them to become new species. Treerunners live on vertical surfaces, such as tree trunks, rock walls, and even buildings and they eat a variety of insects.

The new paper focuses on populations of this lizard in northern South America, but in an overall survey the authors examined specimens from across the Amazon basin and suspect there may be at least another five to seven undescribed species in what is currently consi
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Contact: John C. Murphy
fordonia1@comcast.net
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

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