The correspondence between environmental similarity and geographical sympatry in Uromastyx species

Estimating the realized and potential distribution of species has become a very active field of research with capacity to propose likely speciation mechanisms. Here, environmental variables and point locality data derived from several sources were used to examine the concordance between geographical distributions and environmental niches derived from occurrences for eleven species of the genus Uromastyx (Reptilia, Agamidae). Our results indicate that the degree of geographical overlap is definitively and statistically lower than the degree of environmental similarity. This reinforces the hypothesis that speciation process within the genus Uromastyx will be mainly based on geographical isolation. However, the environmental divergence among some groups of species cannot be excluded; high environmental distances can be obtained for some related species and the environmental gradient represented by two unique climatic variables allows discriminating some species among which an ecological or environmental segregation would be a plausible explanation.