Reptile Tracks: An Indicator for Identifying Areas of High Diversity in Arid Zones of Mexico (pp. 95-110)
Authors: (Uriel Hernandez-Salinas, Aurelio Ramirez-Bautista and Raciel Cruz-Elizalde, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Mexico)
Abstract: The arid zones of México have an important species number of amphibians and reptiles, with both restricted and wide distribution. These characteristics have allowed the identification of areas of endemism in the country within greater geographic areas such as the Neartic and Neotropical regions. In central Mexico, the arid and semiarid environments are primarily located within the Transmexican Volcanic Belt (TVB), Sierra Madre Oriental (SMO), Mexican Plateau (MP), and Chihuahuan Desert Region (CDR) provinces. These geographic areas are highly regarded for the study of biogeography and conservation of many biological groups. We conducted an analysis of biogeographical tracks through panbiogeography and Parsimony Analysis of Endemism (PAE) to determine areas where distribution of several groups of reptiles. With the development of a data matrix including a total of 1690 records that belong to 106 reptile species that have their distribution in the arid provinces mentioned above, we obtained a parsimonious cladogram which reveals the existence of two main clusters or generalized tracks, one generated with species from SMO and MP, and the second cluster with species from CDR and TVB. With the development of these generalized tracks we were able to detect a panbiogeographic node, and give a possible explanation for the historical distribution of the different species of reptiles from different arid zones of central Mexico. Our results showed great similarities in the distribution of reptiles of the arid environments of Mexico compared to other studies previously published by using other biological groups. Finally, in order to know the accuracy of boundaries and the biogeographic history of arid zones from Mexico, it is desirable to analyze the distribution of several biological groups in a consistent pattern.