Mesalina, Gray, 1838

Jiří Šmíd, Jiří Moravec, Václav Gvoždík, Jan Štundl, Daniel Frynta, Petros Lymberakis, Paschalia Kapli, Thomas Wilms, Andreas Schmitz, Mohammed Shobrak, Saeed Hosseinian Yousefkhani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Aurora M. Castilla, Johannes Els & Werner Mayer, 2017, Cutting the Gordian Knot: Phylogenetic and ecological diversification of the Mesalina brevirostris species complex (Squamata, Lacertidae), Zoologica Scripta 46 (6), pp. 1-30 : 13

publication ID 10.1111/zsc.12254


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Taxonomy of Mesalina

The taxonomy of the genus Mesalina has been relatively stable over the past decades compared to other Middle Eastern Eremiadini (e.g., Acanthodactylus , Eremias ). The last species were described in 2002 ( M. kuri by Joger & Mayer, 2002; and M. bahaeldini by Segoli et al., 2002). The taxonomic adjustments recommended herein emphasise how the diversity of a relatively well-known species may actually be underestimated. Mesalina saudiarabica sp. n. described here from western Arabia contributes to the intensively growing knowledge on the evolution and systematics of the pan-Arabian reptile fauna within the last years ( Carranza et al., 2016; Kapli et al., 2015; Metallinou et al., 2012, 2015; de Pous et al., 2016; Šmíd, Shobrak, Wilms, Joger, & Carranza, 2017; Šmíd, Carranza, et al., 2013; Šmíd, Moravec, et al., 2013; Šmíd et al., 2015; Tamar, Carranza, et al., 2016; Tamar, Scholz, et al., 2016). As some of the studies show, cryptic and previously unrecognised species are present along the western Arabian mountains, and more species descriptions from there may thus be expected.

For future taxonomic work on Mesalina , it is important to note that M. saudiarabica sp. n. is not any of Arnold’s (1980, 1986c) undescribed south Arabian species ( Mesalina sp. A from the mountains of Yemen and Saudi Arabia and M. sp. B from Dhofar, Oman). Its presence was not recorded until the material for recent phylogenetic studies ( Kapli et al., 2015; this study) had become available. Further effort should be dedicated to obtaining genetic data from the two supposedly new species mentioned by Arnold (1980, 1986c) as well as from two narrowranging species that have not yet been analysed genetically and placed in a phylogenetic framework, M. ayunensis and M. ercolinii (Lanza & Poggesi, 1975) . Such data may shed new light on the evolutionary history and hopefully help to untangle relationships within some of the other Mesalina species complexes.











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