Most mammals and approximately 20% of squamates (lizards and snakes) are viviparous, whereas all crocodilians, birds and turtles are oviparous. Viviparity evolved greater than 100 times in squamates, including multiple times in Mabuyinae (Reptilia: Scincidae), making this group ideal for studying the evolution of nutritional patterns associated with viviparity. Previous studies suggest that extreme matrotrophy, the support of virtually all of embryonic development by maternal nutrients, evolved as many as three times in Mabuyinae: in Neotropical Mabuyinae (63 species), Eumecia (2 species; Africa) and Trachylepis ivensii (Africa). However, no explicit phylogenetic hypotheses exist for understanding the evolution of extreme matrotrophy. Using multilocus DNA data, we inferred a species tree for Mabuyinae that implies that T. ivensii (here assigned to the resurrected genus Lubuya) is sister to Eumecia, suggesting that extreme matrotrophy evolved only once in African mabuyine skinks.
- Received May 21, 2016.
- Accepted July 25, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.