Molecular data derived from allozymes and mitochondrial nucleotide sequences, in combination with karyotypes, sex ratios, and inheritance data, have revealed the widespread Australian lizard Menetia greyii to be a complex of sexual and triploid unisexual taxa. Three sexual species, three presumed parthenogenetic lineages, and one animal of uncertain status were detected amongst 145 animals examined from south-central Australia, an area representing less than one-seventh of the total distribution of the complex. Parthenogenesis appears to have originated via interspecific hybridization, although presumed sexual ancestors could only be identified in two cases. The allozyme and mtDNA data reveal the presence of many distinct clones within the presumed parthenogenetic lineages. This new instance of vertebrate parthenogenesis is a first for the Scincidae and only the second definitive case of unisexuality in an indigenous Australian vertebrate.
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Vol. 57 • No. 11