Assembly of the eastern North American herpetofauna: New evidence from lizards and frogs

J. Robert Macey, James A. Schulte, Jared L. Strasburg, Jennifer A. Brisson, Allan Larson, Natalia B. Ananjeva, Yuezhao Wang, James F. Parham, Theodore J. Papenfuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Darwin first recognized the importance of episodic intercontinental dispersal in the establishment of worldwide biotic diversity. Faunal exchange across the Bering Land Bridge is a major example of such dispersal. Here, we demonstrate with mitochondrial DNA evidence that three independent dispersal events from Asia to North America are the source for almost all lizard taxa found in continental eastern North America. Two other dispersal events across Beringia account for observed diversity among North American ranid frogs, one of the most species-rich groups of frogs in eastern North America. The contribution of faunal elements from Asia via dispersal across Beringia is a dominant theme in the historical assembly of the eastern North American herpetofauna.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-392
Number of pages5
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 22 2006


  • Amphibia
  • Biogeography
  • North America
  • Phylogeny
  • Reptilia


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