Vertebrate Zoology 65(3): 371-381, doi:
A taxonomic mystery for more than 180 years: the identity and systematic position of Brachysaura minor (HARDWICKE & GRAY, 1827)
expand article infoV. Deepak, Deepak Veerappan§, Raju Vyas, V. B. Giri, K. Praveen Karanth
‡ Center for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, India§ Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom
Open Access
Brachysaura is a monotypic genus of agamid lizard found in the Indian subcontinent; the identity and systematic position of B. minor has been long debated, and it has at times been subsumed into Agama, Charasia and Laudakia, with some authors suggesting affinities to Calotes. We constructed nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenetic trees including Brachysaura and allied agamid genera to resolve its phylogenetic position. We also compared osteology and external morphology with the genera Agama, Calotes and Laudakia. Hemipenial morphology was compared with Calotes and some other agamids from South Asia. Both nuclear and mitochondrial phylogenies demonstrate that Brachysaura is nested within the widespread South and Southeast Asian genus Calotes, with which it also shares certain external morphological, osteological and hemipenial characters. Adaptations to ground dwelling in Brachysaura minor has resulted in unique modifications to its body plan, which is likely why generic allocation has been long confused. This study also highlights the need for an integrated systematic approach to resolve taxonomic ambiguity in Asian agamids.
Brachysaura, Calotes, genus, habit, morphology