Current / Past Research / Research By Category

News 05.31.17

Cameron Siler, Katrina Menard, and the OU field crew (Austin Carriere, Elyse Ellsworth, Sierra Smith & Sam Eliades) arrived safely in Manilla on May 22 and had a day or so to explore the city while waiting for collaborators Dr. Duncan Irschick (UMass-Amherst) and Dr. Phillip Bergman (Clark University). They have now wrapped up collecting at their first site in Cayagan Province on Luzon Island and are now traveling...


Publications 01.09.15

We review the species of the Brachymeles bonitae Complex (B. bonitae and B. tridactylus) and describe an additional two new species in this highly specialized, limb-reduced, endemic Philippine clade of fossorial lizards. For more than 4 decades, B. bonitae has been recognized as a single ‘‘widespread’’ species, a perception that has persisted as a result of limited sampling and similar overall morphology...


Research 10.01.14

There are only four groups of scincid lizards at the genus level which have species that are fully limbed as well as species without limbs. All species are known to burrow and live in dry, rotting material inside decaying logs or in loose soil and leaves. Many different populations within the genus Brachymeles look very similar, so identifying separate species within this...


Research 08.16.14

Elyse Freitas – Research Statement: With more than 1600 species, the lizard Family Scincidae is the most biodiverse group of lizards. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution and is found on every continent except Antarctica and on numerous oceanic islands. Consequently, Scincidae is ecologically and morphologically diverse and is a good system for studying the evolution and distribution of body form in...


Publications 09.15.11

We redescribe the exceedingly rare, tetradactyl Philippine scincid lizards of the genus Brachymeles. Before the recent discovery of a second museum specimen of Brachymeles wrighti, and the rediscovery of B. elerae in the wild, these two species were known from a combined three museum specimens, all collected in the early 1900s. Since that time, biotic surveys in the region, including recent efforts...


Publications 09.12.11

Evolutionary simplification, or loss of complex characters, is a major theme in studies of body-form evolution. The apparently infrequent evolutionary reacquisition of complex characters has led to the assertion (Dollo’s Law) that once lost, complex characters may be impossible to re-evolve, at least via the exact same evolutionary process. Here, we provide one of the most comprehensive, fine-scale analyses of squamate body-form...


Publications 09.12.10

A new limbless species of scincid lizard of the genus Brachymeles is described from Mt. Labo, Bicol Peninsula, Luzon Island, Philippines. The species was encountered only on this isolated volcanic peak and is conspicuously absent from surrounding, well-surveyed regions of the Bicol Peninsula. The new species is the fourth known limbless species of Brachymeles and the third to be discovered in the...