Catarina Rato

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The gecko Tarentola mauritanica is a Mediterranean species that is widely distributed across southern Europe and North Africa. Initial phylogeographic studies based on mtDNA concluded that the European populations originated from recent colonizations from North Africa, possibly involving man-mediated introductions. A distinct lineage, found to be a sister(More)
:   Hemogregarines are the most-commonly reported hemoparasites in reptiles. In this work we analyzed samples from 572 individuals of 6 species of the wall gecko genus Tarentola from European and African countries adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea as well as from the Macaronesian islands. Screening was done using hemogregarine-specific primers for the 18S(More)
A previous study on the evolutionary patterns of Tarentola mauritanica demonstrated that low levels of mitochondrial diversity observed in the European populations relative to nuclear markers were consistent with a selective sweep hypothesis. In order to unravel the mitochondrial evolutionary history in this European population and two other lineages of T.(More)
Because fitness of ectotherms, including reptiles, is highly dependent on temperature and water availability, the study of ecophysiological traits, such as preferred temperature (T p) and water loss rates (WLRs), may provide mechanistic evidence on the restricting factors to the species ranges. The Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica, is a species complex(More)
A previous study on Hemidactylus turcicus based on mtDNA makers indicated that this gecko has a Middle-East origin, and that the current phylogeographic pattern is the result of a very rapid spread from the east to the west of the species' range. The same study identified two distinct mitochondrial lineages with low differentiation and genetic diversity.(More)
The quantification of realized niche overlap and the integration of species distribution models (SDMs) with calibrated phylogenies to study niche evolution are becoming not only powerful tools to understand speciation events, but can also be used as proxies regarding the delimitation of cryptic species. We applied these techniques in order to unravel how(More)
The pronounced morphological conservatism within Tarentola geckos contrasted with a high genetic variation in North Africa, has led to the hypothesis that this group could represent a cryptic species complex, a challenging system to study especially when trying to define distinct evolutionary entities and address biogeographic hypotheses. In the present(More)
The lack of morphological diagnosable characters typical of cryptic species, poses a particular problem to taxonomists. This is especially true when taxa are closely related, sharing considerable amounts of ancestral polymorphism. Phylogenetic studies on the Moorish gecko species-complex, Tarentola mauritanica, uncovered extremely high levels of mtDNA(More)
Studies of biodiversity in the Maghreb have revealed high genetic diversity and divergent genetic lineages among many taxa including squamates. Geographic barriers such as the Atlas Mountains are one of the key factors promoting genetic differentiation and the high levels of endemism. The lizard-fingered gecko Saurodactylus brosseti is endemic to Morocco.(More)