New Research Illuminates Spot-tailed Earless Lizard Genetics

In a recently published paper investigating the genetics of spot-tailed earless lizards (Holbrookia lacerata) in Texas, two genetically distinct clades (groups which include a common ancestor and all its descendants) have been identified. The clades parallel two previously known subspecies of the lizard: Holbrookia lacerata lacerata, which is found on the Edwards Plateau and northwest of the Balcones Escarpment, and Holbrookia lacerata subcaudalis, which is found in South Texas and Mexico. The genetics also provide insight into how the distribution of the two subspecies has changed over time, with H.I. lacerata’s remaining relatively unchanged while H. l. subcaudalis populations have experienced significant fragmentation.

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