Dracaena guianensis and its unusual teeth, used for crushing
mollusk shells. JCM
|Salvator rufescens. JCM|
Harvey et al. (2012) found that despite advances within particular groups, systematics of the Teiidae has long been unsatisfactory, because few morphological characters have been described for this family. Consequently, most species have been assigned to the large, polyphyletic, and poorly defined genera of Ameiva and Cnemidophorus. They describe 137 morphological characters and score them for most species of the Neotropical Teiidae. Important, but previously undescribed, character suites are detailed in the article and result in a new taxonomy of the Teiidae based on recovered evolutionary history and numerous morphological characters surveyed in this study. The authors recognize three subfamilies: Callopistinae new subfamily, Teiinae Estes et al., and Tupinambinae Estes et al. They resolve the polyphyly of Ameiva and Cnemidophorus, by establishing four new genera for various groups of Neotropical Teiidae: Ameivula new genus, Aurivela new genus, Contomastix new genus, and Medopheos new genus. They resurrect Holcosus Cope from the synonymy of Ameiva and Salvator Duméril and Bibron from the synonymy of Tupinambis. On the basis of shared derived characters, they propose new species groups of our redefined Ameiva and Cnemidophorus. We incorporate our new characters into a key to the genera and species groups of Teiidae. A phylogenetic hypothesis of Teiidae based on morphological characters differs substantially from hypotheses based on mitochondrial DNA. The phylogeny based on morphology is consistent with well-established biogeographic patterns of Neotropical vertebrates and explains extreme morphological divergence in such genera as Kentropyx and Aurivela.
Harvey, M.B., Ugento, G.N., Gutberlet, RL. 2012. Review of Teiid Morphology with a Revised Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Teiidae (Lepidosauria: Squamata). Zootaxa 3459:1-156.