Abstract

Wallace's and Lydekker's Lines both describe important biogeographic barriers in the Indo-Australian Archipelago, with Wallace's Line demarcating the boundary of the Greater Sunda Shelf and Lydekker's Line indicating the edge of the Sahul continental shelf. Despite their similarities, Wallace's Line has been much more heavily studied than has Lydekker's Line, yet provides an interesting system for testing the source of fauna into eastern Wallacea. New collections of Northern Water Dragons, Tropicagama temporalis, from several islands in Maluku, eastern Indonesia now allow for an assessment of the phylogeography of the species and the ability to test if New Guinean or Australian populations served as the source for over-water dispersal across Lydekker's Line into Maluku. We collected specimens from remote islands in eastern Indonesia, sequenced the mitochondrial ND2 gene, and aligned the data to previously sequenced specimens on GenBank. We conducted several phylogenetic and divergence time analyses to investigate the source population and timing of dispersal. We found low genetic diversity among the islands in Maluku, and these samples showed little genetic divergence from New Guinea samples. The New Guinea and Maluku populations diverged less than 1 million years ago (Ma) and together diverged from the Australian population between 2.3 and 4.7 Ma. These results, along with patterns in other taxa, illustrated that, despite Australia's close geographic proximity to many of the islands in southeastern Indonesia, New Guinea has been the more frequent source of Wallacean fauna from Sahul.

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