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Zoogeography and Speciation of Australian Desert Lizards: An Ecological Perspective

Eric R. Pianka
Copeia
Vol. 1972, No. 1 (Mar. 8, 1972), pp. 127-145
DOI: 10.2307/1442789
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1442789
Page Count: 19
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Zoogeography and Speciation of Australian Desert Lizards: An Ecological Perspective
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Abstract

Geographic distributions of 94 species of Australian desert lizards are compared and 72 of these ranges are classified into eight biogeographic categories: ubiquitous (7 species), northern (8 species), southern (10 species), eremaen (6 species), central relicts (6 or 7 species), sandridges (8 species), shrub-Acacia (16 species), and sandplain-Triodia (10 species). Habitat specificity in nearly half these species has been well documented. Sandridge, shrub-Acacia, and sandplain-Triodia habitats are three particularly important desert habitats to which lizards have become specialized. Various routes by which habitat-restricted lizards could disperse between subregions of the desert are described and discussed. One of these, a band of shrub habitat through the southern part of the Gibson Desert, the Warburton Ranges, and the southern part of the Northern Territory, is named "The Giles Corridor." Points of habitat juncture are described, and it is suggested that several fairly localized regions have played major roles in both the speciation and the movements of habitat-restricted Australian desert lizards. A model of speciation based upon habitats fluctuating in space and time is proposed and discussed.

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