Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Taxonomy of rock-wallabies, Petrogale (Marsupialia: Macropodidae). IV. Multifaceted study of the brachyotis group identifies additional taxa

Sally Potter A B C G , Robert L. Close D , David A. Taggart B , Steven J. B. Cooper B E and Mark D. B. Eldridge A F
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Australian Museum Research Institute, Australian Museum, 6 College Street, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia.

B Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

C Present address: Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Building 116, Daley Road, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia.

D School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

E Evolutionary Biology Unit, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia.

F Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: sally.potter@anu.edu.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 62(5) 401-414 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO13095
Submitted: 1 November 2013  Accepted: 25 November 2014   Published: 22 December 2014

Abstract

Defining taxonomic units is an important component of understanding how biodiversity has formed, and in guiding efforts to sustain it. Understanding patterns of biodiversity across the monsoonal tropics of northern Australia is limited, with molecular technology revealing deep phylogenetic structure and complex evolutionary histories. The brachyotis group of rock-wallabies (Petrogale spp.), which currently consists of three species (Petrogale brachyotis, P. burbidgei and P. concinna) distributed across north-western Australia, provides an example where current taxonomy does not reflect the true diversity or phylogenetic relationships within the group. We have used an integrative approach, combining morphological data, together with DNA sequences (~1000 bp mitochondrial DNA; ~3000 bp nuclear DNA) to resolve relationships within P. brachyotis. Phylogenetic and morphological analyses indicated that P. brachyotis (sensu lato) represents at least two separate species: P. brachyotis (sensu stricto) from the Kimberley and western Northern Territory, and P. wilkinsi from the northern and eastern Northern Territory. Petrogale brachyotis (sensu stricto) can be separated on genetic and morphological evidence into two subspecies: P. b. brachyotis and P. b. victoriae (subsp. nov.). Distinct genetic lineages have also been identified within both P. brachyotis and P. wilkinsi, as well as within P. burbidgei and P. concinna.

Additional keywords: marsupial, mitochondrial DNA, morphology, northern Australia, nuclear, phylogenetics.


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