Review of Lizard Diversity, Natural History and Ecology from the Northern Monte Desert, Argentina

Avila, Luciano Javier

Instituto Patagónico para el Estudio de los Ecosistemas Continentales IPEEC-CONICET

Puerto Madryn

Chubut, Argentina SA

avilacnp@gmail.com

Acosta, Juan Carlos

Department of Biology

FCEFyN San Juan National University San Juan

San Juan, Argentina SA

Minoli, Ignacio

Instituto Patagónico para el Estudio de los Ecosistemas Continentales IPEEC-CONICET

Puerto Madryn

Chubut, Argentina SA

Blanco, Graciela

Acosta, Rodrigo

Department of Biology

FCEFyN San Juan National University San Juan

San Juan, Argentina SA

Sites Jr., Jack W.

Department of Biology and Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

Brigham Young University

Provo, UT USA

Morando, Mariana

Instituto Patagónico para el Estudio de los Ecosistemas Continentales IPEEC-CONICET

Puerto Madryn

Chubut, Argentina SA

Much of southern South America consists of diverse montane, arid, and semiarid regions characterized by high squamate endemism as a result of a complex interplay between lineage histories, Tertiary geological changes, and Pleistocene climatic shifts. The Monte Desert region extending from 24° to 32° S in north-western Argentina, and characterized by small mountain ranges and closed basins, with subtropical to temperate warm climates. Here we provide an updated review of lizard biodiversity in the northern ecoregion of the Monte Desert, the Monte of Mountains and Closed Basins, and we review some aspects of the phylogeographic, taxonomic, ecological, physiological, and behavioral research carried out here in the last 30 years. We have documented 35 species of lizards (14 described since 1998, 15 species of snakes, and one turtle species, Endemism is relatively high in lizards (22/35 species; 63%), but low in snakes (1/15, 6.6%). The Monte resembles parts of the North American Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, with which it shares several plant genera but few (Crotalus) animal taxa.


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