, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 189-204

Geographic patterns of endemism and speciation in amphibians and reptiles of the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan, with special reference to their paleogeographical implications

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This paper analyzes the phylogeographical patterns of amphibian and reptile lineages distributed in the Ryukyu islands south of the Tokara Gap on the basis of relevant distributional data and phylogenetic hypotheses hitherto published. Results indicate the numerical dominance of highly relict lineages in the central Ryukyus, and the occurences of a few more or less relict lineages in the Miyako Group as well. On the other hand, most species and subspecies endemic to the Yaeyama Group or to the Yaeyama and Miyako Groups are considered to be direct consequences of vicariance with adjacent regions. Three major hypotheses regarding the Cenozoic paleogeography of the central and the southern Ryukyus are examined in the light of the present results and a modified hypothesis is proposed accordingly.