Morphological and genetic variation in Leggadina (Thomas, 1910) with special reference to Western Australian populations


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Publication Date

January 2003


Recent collections of specimens from the Pilbara attributed to Leggadina lakedownensis stimulated an investigation of genetic and morphometric variation in L. lakedownensis and L. forresti to confirm the taxonomic status of these species, determine the extent of intraspecific variation, and develop useful markers for classification. Extensive analyses of both morphology and allozymes confirm the clear taxonomic separation of these two species. Leggadina lakedownensis shows considerably more intraspecific morphological variation than L. forresti, reflecting the former's much greater geographic range and ecological diversity. The mean body size of Thevenard Island L. lakedownensis is markedly larger than the other populations examined. Despite this morphological diversity, populations of L. lakedownensis, including those from mainland Pilbara and Thevenard Island, are genetically similar across their range. An individual from Queensland is genetically the most divergent but we have been unable to assess the morphological relationship of the topotypical population.

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WA Museum Records and Supplements, Vol. 21, no. 4 (2003).