2003 Volume 78 Issue 1 Pages 71-80
Phylogenetic relationships of the three lygosomine skink genera occurring both in the Old World and the New World (Mabuya, Scincella and Sphenomorphus) were inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence of 12S and 16S rRNA genes. Results strongly suggested the non-monophyly for any of these three genera. Within the Mabuya group, Asian members appear to have diverged first, leaving the Neotropical and the Afro-Malagasy Mabuya as sister groups. These relationships, together with the absence of extant or fossil representatives of the Mabuya group from North America, strongly suggest the trans-Atlantic dispersals of Mabuya from Africa to Neotropics. Our results also indicated a closer affinity of the New World Scincella with the New World Sphenomorphus than with the Old World Scincella. Such relationships suggest the trans-Beringian dispersal of the common ancestor from Asia and its subsequent divergence into the North American Scincella and the Neotropical Sphenomorphus.