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Phylogenetic analysis and evolution of head forms of Amphisbaenia (Reptilia, Squamata)

Grant number: 12/24755-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2013
Effective date (End): February 28, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal Investigator:Hussam El Dine Zaher
Grantee:Roberta Graboski Mendes
Host Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50206-9 - Origin and evolution of snakes and their diversification in the Neotropics: a multidisciplinary approach, AP.BTA.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):16/06866-8 - Evolution of head shape in the Amphisbaenia (Reptilia, Squamata) using geometric morphometrics methods, BE.EP.DR


The order Squamata consists of reptiles (snakes, "Lizards", Anfisbaenas and mosasaurs) that present a great diversity of species and forms. Among the Squamata, the suborder Amphisbaenia consists of organisms that have adapted to various morphological changes fossorial habits. Currently, Amphisbaenia has 182 described species which are divided into six families (Amphisbaenidae, Blanidae, Bipedidae, Cadeidae, and Rhineuridae Trogonophidae) that have a wide distribution, occurring in the Neotropical region, sub-Saharan Africa, parts of the Mediterranean region, Baja California and Florida. Despite the advancement of knowledge about the group, the phylogenetic position of Amphisbaenia within Squamata and the relationships between families and genera remain uncertain. Many studies attribute the difficulties in understanding the origin and evolution of Amphisbaenia the convergence of several morphological characters, such as various forms of head present in this group. In general, vertebrates that have subterranean habits are difficult to observe and obtain, and many aspects of their evolutionary biology become misunderstood by the difficulty of access to the bodies. Therefore, this project aims to investigate and help to fill some of these gaps in knowledge about the group. For this, we will analyze the molecular diversity of 30 genes (nuclear and mitochondrial) a broad sampling of species Amphisbaenia to understand the relationships between families and genera. It will also be used the technique of "Next Generation Sequencing" to infer the phylogenetic position of Amphisbaenia within Squamata and confirm the phylogenetic relationships of families and genera of representativeness under Amphisbaenia. Will be used phylogenetic methods of Maximum Parsimony, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference. The estimates of divergence times between families Amphisbaenia be obtained through the method of relaxed molecular clock. This project also aims to categorize and understand the evolution of the forms of the head within Amphisbaenia, testing whether these forms have phylogenetic relationship or morphological convergence is related to geographic distribution. For that will be used anatomical landmarks (Landmarks) and geometric morphometric techniques to quantify and analyze the differences in the shape of a great representation of species Amphisbaenia. To analyze the correlation between the shapes of the head in a phylogeny will use Phylogenetic analysis generalizes least squares (PGLS) and for evaluate the different morpho-functional complexes will be used principal components analysis of metric and geometric data. (AU)

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Scientific publications (4)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ZAHER, HUSSAM; YANEZ-MUNOZ, MARIO H.; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL T.; GRABOSKI, ROBERTA; MACHADO, FABIO A.; ALTAMIRANO-BENAVIDES, MARCO; BONATTO, SANDRO L.; GRAZZIOTIN, FELIPE G.. Origin and hidden diversity within the poorly known Galapagos snake radiation (Serpentes: Dipsadidae). SYSTEMATICS AND BIODIVERSITY, v. 16, n. 7, p. 614-642, . (02/13602-4, 07/52144-5, 11/50146-6, 12/24755-8)
COSTA, HENRIQUE C.; GRABOSKI, ROBERTA; ZAHER, HUSSAM. Amphisbaena mensae Catro-Mello, 2000 is a synonym of Amphisbaena talisiae Vanzolini, 1995 (Squamata: Amphisbaenia: Amphisbaenidae). Zootaxa, v. 4559, n. 1, p. 166-174, . (12/24755-8)
ZAHER, HUSSAM; MURPHY, ROBERT W.; ARREDONDO, JUAN CAMILO; GRABOSKI, ROBERTA; MACHADO-FILHO, PAULO ROBERTO; MAHLOW, KRISTIN; MONTINGELLIL, GIOVANNA G.; QUADROS, ANA BOTTALLO; ORLOV, NIKOLAI L.; WILKINSON, MARK; et al. Large-scale molecular phylogeny, morphology, divergence-time estimation, and the fossil record of advanced caenophidian snakes (Squamata: Serpentes). PLoS One, v. 14, n. 5, . (02/13602-4, 07/52144-5, 11/50206-9, 16/50127-5, 12/24755-8)
RIBEIRO, SIRIA; SA, VANIA; SANTOS-JR, ALFREDO P.; GRABOSKI, ROBERTA; ZAHER, HUSSAM; GUEDES, ANDREI G.; ANDRADE, SHEILA P.; VAZ-SILVA, WILIAN. A new species of the Amphisbaena (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae) from the Brazilian Cerrado with a key for the two-pored species. Zootaxa, v. 4550, n. 3, p. 301-320, . (12/24755-8, 16/06866-8)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
MENDES, Roberta Graboski. Phylogeny and evolution of head shape in the Amphisbaenia (Reptilia: Squamata). 2018. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Biociências (IBIOC/SB) São Paulo.

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