The ReptileDatabase, an online listing of all species of reptiles, has just issued its latest update (Dec.24), and in it, has broken Anolis into eight genera following Nicholson et al.’s recent paper. Here’s what they have to say:
“Since the last database release 493 names have been added or have changed, including 62 new species, and 95 other changes such as elevations of subspecies to species status, resurrections, or simply changes in gender. The remaining 336 changes are changed Anolis names.
Anolis revision: The most notable change affected Anolis. We have preliminarily adopted the new Anolis names from Nicholson et al. (2012), even though these changes remain controversial. These authors split Anolis into 8 genera, among which Anolis now holds only 52 species. While this is phylogenetically more informative than a single large genus Anolis, it is unfortunately of limited use, if not confusing, due to unsatisfactory diagnoses of at least some of these new genera.”
Those of you who are long time readers of Anole Annals will remember our lengthy discussion of this proposed change earlier this fall. Readers interested in reliving the discussion might search using the term “Nicholson” to find the many posts on the topic.
The Reptile Database is relied upon by many online resources as the authoritative list of reptile species. As such, this decision will go far to gain widespread acceptance of this taxonomic revision. On the other hand, at least two papers are currently in press criticizing the paper and arguing against this taxonomic split. Stay tuned!