Gecko spp. genome

The genus Gehyra represents a major radiation among Australian lizards and a subject of studies in chromosome change, speciation, adaptive evolution and sex chromosome evolution for 40 years. Recent phylogenomic and taxonomic studies have resolved species boundaries and relationships among the 62 lineages (49 described species).

Gehyra purpurascens, Photo: Kenneth Bader, Source: iNaturalist

As the most chromosomally variable species radiation in Australia, there has been long standing interest in whether and how Robertsonian fusions and inversions drive speciation in this genus. In recent years a large number of new species have been discovered and described through combined genetic and phenotypic analyses but many of these have not been karyotyped. The reference genomes will focus on the northern Australian (nana and australis groups) radiations.

  • Moritz’s Dtella (Gehyra moritzi), a species of gecko endemic to the Northern Territory of Australia
  • The Litchfield spotted gecko (Gehyra paranana), a species of gecko endemic to the Northern Territory in Australia
  • The purplish Dtella (Gehyra purpurascens), a species of gecko endemic to Australia found in arid areas with low woodland
  • The Litchfield Rock Gehyra (Gehyra lapistola), a newly described species, restricted to the rocky ranges of north-eastern NT

Project coordinator:

  • Craig Moritz (Australian National University)

Project collaborators:

  • Emily Roycroft (ANU)
  • Rust Turakulov (ANU)

References cited:

  • Oliver PM, Prasetya AM, Tedeschi LG, Fenker J, Ellis RJ, Doughty P, Moritz C. 2020. Crypsis and convergence: integrative taxonomic revision of the Gehyra australis group (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from northern Australia. PeerJ 8:e7971