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Iguana insularis (Iguanidae) from the southern Lesser Antilles: An endemic lineage endangered by hybridization

Abstract : The newly described horned iguana Iguana insularis from the southern Lesser Antilles is separated in two easily recognized subspecies: I. insularis sanctaluciae from St. Lucia and I. insularis insularis from the Grenadines. Its former description is completed by the use of 38 new samples for genetic and morphological analysis. Seventeen microsatellites were used to estimate genetic diversity, population structure and the level of introgression with other Iguana species over nearly the whole range of the species. ND4 and PAC sequences were also used to better characterize hybridization and to complete the description of this lineage. The I. insularis population of St. Vincent shows a high level of introgression from I. iguana whereas in the Grenadines, most islands present pure insularis populations but several show evidence of introgressions. Of the two remaining populations of I. insularis sanctaluciae, only one is still purebred. The recent identification of this and other distinct insular species and subspecies in the eastern Caribbean, and evaluation of where hybridization has occurred, are timely and important because the native iguanas are in urgent need of conservation action. Among the greatest threats is the ongoing human-mediated spread of invasive iguanas from Central and South America, which are destroying the endemic insular lineages through multiple diachronic introgression events.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, March 15, 2022 - 9:57:15 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, June 26, 2022 - 5:54:58 AM
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Michel Breuil, David Schikorski, Barbara Vuillaume, Ulrike Krauss, Jennifer Daltry, et al.. Iguana insularis (Iguanidae) from the southern Lesser Antilles: An endemic lineage endangered by hybridization. Zookeys, Pensoft, 2022, 1086, pp.137 - 161. ⟨10.3897/zookeys.1086.76079⟩. ⟨hal-03608735⟩



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