The Gulbaru leaf-tailed gecko is a highly distinct species of leaf-tailed gecko in the small genus of Australian leaf-tailed geckos, Phyllurus.
The Gulbaru leaf-tailed gecko is a highly distinct species of leaf-tailed gecko in the small genus of Australian leaf-tailed geckos, Phyllurus. Mitochondrial DNA sequencing allows the phylogeny to be revised to include this species.
Some of these species, such as the northern leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius cornutus), have recently been reassigned to the genus Saltuarius. A phylogeny of the leaf-tailed geckos showed Saltuarius and Phyllurus to be monophyletic groups. The long-necked Northern leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius occultus) from the McIlwraith Range was recognized as a deeply divergent lineage basal to Saltuarius and Phyllurus. Re-evaluation of the morphological data, combined with new molecular information, resulted in reassignment of this species at the generic level: Orraya occultus. The molecular data showed the leaf-tail geckos to represent ancient lineages, with the split between Saltuarius and Phyllurus dated at c. 58–74 million years ago and the divergence among species in the mid-east Queensland (MEQ) clade of Phyllurus being c. 31–38 million years ago. Thus it was postulated that the MEQ Phyllurus represent the relictual distribution of an ancient group separated by pre-Pleistocene contraction of rainforest.
The Phyllurus geckos resemble the Uroplatus geckos of Madagascar. This is an example of convergent evolution because they are not closely related.
• Image | ©️ David, All Rights Reserved
• Sources | (Couper, Covacevich, & Moritz, 1993; Couper, Schneider, Hoskin, & Covacevich, 2000; Hoskin, Couper, & Schneider, 2003; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2020)
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