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Posted by WW on May 07, 2002 at 08:00:34:
In Reply to: Re: Cannia australis and "Pseudechis".....more posted by Scott Eipper on May 07, 2002 at 04:34:54:
: I am however fairly familiar with Lerista bouganvilli ..probably the most common reduced limb skink in Victoria!
: The Bass Strait Island populations (And probably the pop from Tasmania) are viviparous..with 2 to 4 young born in Summer while the Mainland pop is oviparous. While they are the same ancestor I doubt they are actually the same species if not sub species.
The phylogeny of these was investigated by Fairbairn et al - viviparity actually evolved twice independently in L. bougainvillei, once on kangaroo Isd. and once in the Bass Straits/Tasmanian populations. Irrespective of what one chooses to call separate species, it shows that reproductive mode can be very labile at very low taxonomic levels.
: Ehmann..1992 States in his first line of the Species account of L. bouganvillii " it is quite likely that at least 2 species are presently assigned to this name".
: Look at the Tiger Snakes from the Bass Strait....7 ft Chappell Is Tigers (average about 5 ft...closest mainland pop... is probably the South Aussie Snakes...Peninsular Tigers Come to mind.. their average is about 3 ft..and max out around 5 ft. Thats 2 feet of difference, as well as the morphylogical and diet differences.
: I know that this is a case of evolution due to the lack of prey for mid sized elapids..large get more food...more successful..and thus size is bred in. But still However King Island, Flinder's Island and Tasmanian Tigers are still separated at subspecies level from their South Australian counterparts.
From what I have heard of work in progress on these critters, that is about to change fairly drastically. Scientific ideas of how the diversity of life should be classified chnage all the time. The fact remains that very considerable differences in ecology, size, pattern etc. can, in some instances, evolve very rapidly indeed. Whether such differentiated populations should be recognised as nomenclaturally as species, subspecies or not at all is often a matter of debate and personal opinion.
: On a totally unrelated topic...have you sent that Naja paper?
Thanks for the reminder - I obviously did not! Will post it a.s.a.p.