Omar Torres-Carvajal

Omar Torres-Carvajal
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador | PUCE · Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - The University of Kansas

About

154
Publications
147,109
Reads
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3,580
Citations
Citations since 2017
68 Research Items
2432 Citations
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Introduction
Full professor and reptile curator at the Museum of Zoology (QCAZ), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. I am mostly interested in systematics and biogeography of Neotropical reptiles. My work involves morphological descriptions of new taxa, molecular phylogenies and reconstruction of ancestral distributions. I am currently working on descriptions of new species, molecular phylogenies and biogeographical analyses. As a side project, I am gathering physiological data of a few Ecuadorian lizards to assess the potential impact of global warming. Finally, I am in charge of the reptile section of Bioweb.bio, a resource-rich web portal to the biodiversity from Ecuador.
Additional affiliations
January 2009 - present
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2006 - December 2008
Smithsonian Institution
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2001 - December 2005
University of Kansas
Position
  • PhD

Publications

Publications (154)
Article
Full-text available
Viviparity has evolved more times in squamates than in any other vertebrate group; therefore, squamates offer an excellent model system in which to study the patterns, drivers and implications of reproductive mode evolution. Based on current species distributions, we examined three selective forces hypothesized to drive the evolution of squamate vi...
Article
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1. Studying species interactions in nature often requires elaborated logistics and intense fieldwork. The difficulties in such task might hinder our ability to answer questions on how biotic interactions change with the environment. Fortunately, a workaround to this problem lies within scientific collections. 2. For some animals, the inspection of...
Article
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Abstract Atractus badius has a long and controversial nomenclatural history due to both its antiquity and the brevity of its original description. This species was described based on two syntypes from Java. Later, a lectotype was designated and the distribution range restricted to the Guiana Shield. Although this species has been repeatedly recorde...
Article
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We describe a new species of Neotropical spiny-lizard of the genus Echinosaura from the Imbabura and Carchi Provinces on the western slopes of the Andes in northwestern Ecuador. The new species mostly resembles E. horrida. However, it can be distinguished from all congeners by having keeled enlarged dorsal scales forming a paired vertebral row, two...
Article
Neotropical vine snakes (Oxybelis) have a wide distribution range from southern United States to southeastern Brazil. Notably, the widespread brown vine snake O. aeneus was recently split into eight species, but major geographical areas such as the South American Pacific lowlands remained unsampled. In this paper, we present the largest molecular p...
Article
We describe a new species of Microtegu lizard (Selvasaura) from the Amazonian slopes of the Andes in Ecuador. Among other characters, the new species differs from the only other known species of Selvasaura, namely, Selvasaura brava from Peru, in having more femoral pores in males and a unilobed hemipenis. We present the first description of the sku...
Article
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We report the discovery of a new species of Enyalioides from the premontane forest of the Río Huallaga basin in central Peru. The most similar and phylogenetically related species are E. binzayedi and E. rudolfarndti . However, the new species differs from E. binzayedi (state of character in parentheses) by having dorsal scales strongly keeled on p...
Article
Full-text available
Terrestrial squamate reptiles from the Galápagos archipelago have limited gene flow among islands, which provides an opportunity to test paleogeographic models. Previous work suggests that Pleistocene glaciations had a strong influence on the evolution of Galápagos’ sea-locked vertebrates by allowing dispersal and contact among populations from dif...
Article
Tetrapod taxa with broad geographic distributions across the Neotropics are often composed of multiple evolutionary lineages. In this paper, we present the most complete phylogeny of Leptophis to date and assess morphology-based species limits within the broadly distributed green parrot snake Leptophis ahaetulla sensu lato, which occurs from Mexico...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a new species of Anolis lizard from the Pacific slopes of the Andes of southwestern Ecuador at elevations between 372–1,000 m. The new species belongs to the Dactyloa clade and may be distinguished from other Anolis by size, external anatomy, mitochondrial DNA divergence, and dewlap color. Based on phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial...
Article
Full-text available
We conducted a long-term inventory of the herpetofauna of Wildsumaco Wildlife Sanctuary in the eastern part of the Napo Province in Ecuador. This private preserve is about 500 ha in size and is located on the southern slopes of Volcán Sumaco. The preserve contains primary forest, secondary forest, and pasture habitats. Based mostly on nocturnal tra...
Article
Our knowledge of the conservation status of reptiles, the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrates, has improved dramatically over the past decade, but still lags behind that of the other tetrapod groups. Here, we conduct the first comprehensive evaluation (~92% of the world's ~1714 described species) of the conservation 1 Joint senior authors...
Article
We review the Atractus snethlageae species complex based on the examination of 330 specimens throughout its entire distribution, including its type series. We redefine A. snethlageae and recognize four new species previously assigned to it in the literature and natural history collections. Two of them are diagnosed through both phenotypic (meristic...
Book
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Se presentan fichas de todas las especies de reptiles registradas en la Reserva Biológica del Río Bigal (RBRB) a octubre de 2019. Cada ficha incluye la siguiente información: un breve texto sobre las características de identificación de la especie, datos relevantes sobre su biología y ecología, comentarios sobre su distribución y estado de conserva...
Article
Leptodeira is one of the most widespread and taxonomically problematic snake taxa in the Americas. Here we describe a new species of Leptodeira from the Andes of southern Ecuador based on morphological and molecular data. The new species is geographically close and morphologically similar to L. ornata and L. larcorum, from which it can be distingui...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a new species of Macropholidus lizard from the Andean highlands of southern Ecuador and northern Peru based on recent collections. Among other characters, the new species differs from other species of Macropholidus in having a paired series of enlarged middorsal scale rows restricted to the nape, striated dorsal scales, as well as ocell...
Article
Among the currently recognized species of Alopoglossus, the Amazonian Alopoglossus angulatus has the widest distribution. We here analyse variation in scutellation and morphometrics of A. angulatus by examining 785 specimens of Alopoglossus. We also analyse intra- and interspecific genetic structure and differentiation using two mitochondrial (Cytb...
Article
Full-text available
Four new species of Pholidobolus lizards are described from poorly explored areas in the Andes of southern Ecuador based on morphological and genetic evidence. Among other morphological characters, Pholidobolus samek sp. nov. and P. condor sp. nov. differ from their congeners in having green dorsolateral stripes on head. Males of P. condor sp. nov....
Article
Aim Clutch size is a key life‐history trait. In lizards, it ranges over two orders of magnitude. The global drivers of spatial and phylogenetic variation in clutch have been extensively studied in birds, but such tests in other organisms are lacking. To test the generality of latitudinal gradients in clutch size, and their putative drivers, we pres...
Article
The spatial distribution of genetic diversity of widely distributed Neotropical tetrapods has been an active research field during the last decade, although it has focused on lowland (mostly Amazonian) taxa. In this paper we use phylogenetic analyses to explore the diversity within two widely distributed snake species, Erythrolamprus epinephelus an...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to analyze the thermal biology and climatic vulnerability of two closely related lizard species (Stenocercus festae and S. guentheri) inhabiting the Ecuadorian Andes at high altitudes. Four physiological parameters—body temperature (Tb), preferred temperature (Tpref), critical thermal maximum (CTmax), and critical thermal minimum (C...
Article
Among the currently recognized species of Alopoglossus, the Amazonian Alopoglossus angulatus has the widest distribution. We here analyse variation in scutellation and morphometrics of A. angulatus by examining 785 specimens of Alopoglossus. We also analyse intra-and interspecific genetic structure and differentiation using two mitochondrial (Cytb...
Article
Full-text available
Morphology and distribution of the South American snake Chironius leucometapus (Serpentes: Colubridae). Chironius leucometapus was described more than 25 years ago as subspecies of C. fuscus from restricted area in the Department of Junín in central Peru, with no additional specimens reported since. Examination of 17 new specimens reveals that C. l...
Preprint
Full-text available
The spatial distribution of genetic diversity of widely distributed Neotropical tetrapods has been an active research field during the last decade, although it has focused on lowland (mostly Amazonian) taxa. In this paper we use phylogenetic analyses to explore the diversity within two widely distributed snake species, Erythrolamprus epinephelus an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Las estribaciones andinas y tierras bajas de la Amazonía ecuatoriana son áreas de alta biodiversidad. Las cuencas hidrográficas y cadenas montañosas son barreras biogeográficas que podrían limitar la dispersión de fauna en esta zona. La lagartija Potamites strangulatus se distribuye ampliamente en esta región; sin embargo, existe incertidumbre taxo...
Article
Aim: Understanding the mechanisms determining species richness is a primary goal of biogeography. Richness patterns of subgroups within a taxon are usually assumed to be driven by similar processes. However, if richness of distinct ecological strategies respond differently to the same processes, inferences made for an entire taxon may be misleading...
Article
Aim: A poorly explored feature of the origin and maintenance of Neotropical biodiversity is how the evolutionary dynamics of colonization and differentiation in relation to lowland and highland habitats has impacted lineage formation. Most speciation models for this region have focused on vicariant events, whereas the need to assess the influence o...
Article
The Guiana Shield harbours one of the best preserved and largest extents of tropical forest on Earth and an immense biodiversity. The herpetofauna of this region remains poorly known. The species-rich snake genus Atractus contains ∼140 species, many with complicated taxonomic histories, including A. schach. Examination of specimens in museums and n...
Article
Full-text available
With 477 species of non-avian reptiles within an area of 283,561 km 2 , Ecuador has the highest density of reptile species richness among megadiverse countries in the world. This richness is represented by 35 species of turtles, five crocodilians, and 437 squamates including three amphisbaenians, 197 lizards, and 237 snakes. Of these, 45 species ar...
Article
Full-text available
Anthropogenic climate change ranks among the major global-scale threats to modern biodiversity. Extinction risks are known to increase via the interactions between rapid climatic alterations and environmentally-sensitive species traits that fail to adapt to those changes. Accumulating evidence reveals the influence of ecophysiological, ecological a...
Article
Full-text available
We performed a systematic review of the genus Anadia in Ecuador to delimit species based on several lines of evidence: external morphology, hemipenes, coloration, DNA sequences and geographical distribution. We describe a new species, Anadia buenaventura sp. nov., which is distinguished from other species of Anadia by presenting a pattern of colora...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of Anolis lizard from the Andean slopes of southwestern Colombia and northwestern Ecuador, from between 1187 and 2353 m in elevation, is described. The new species can be distinguished from other Anolis in squamation, cranial osteology, hemipenial morphology, and nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. The new species is sister to Anolisaequat...
Article
Neotropical sipo snakes (Chironius) are large diurnal snakes with a long tail and big eyes that di er from other Neotropical snakes in having 10 or 12 dorsal scale rows at midbody. The 22 currently recognized species occur from Central America south to Uruguay and northeastern Argentina. Based on the largest geographical sampling to date including...
Article
Full-text available
A molecular phylogeny of the Neotropical snail-eating snakes (tribe Dipsadini) is presented including 43 (24 for the first time) of the 77 species, sampled for both nuclear and mitochondrial genes. Morphological and phylogenetic support was found for four new species of Dipsas and one of Sibon , which are described here based on their unique combin...
Presentation
Full-text available
Genome banks are essential for the study and preservation of biodiversity. Unfortunately, most genome banks are outside tropical countries and, as a consequence, the genomic recourses of the most biodiverse regions in the world are underrepresented. One large genome bank based on a tropical country is that of the Museum of Zoology (QCAZ) at Pontifi...
Article
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Adaptive radiation is a widely recognized pattern of evolution wherein substantial phenotypic change accompanies rapid speciation. Adaptive radiation may be triggered by environmental opportunities resulting from dispersal to new areas or via the evolution of traits, called key innovations, that allow for invasion of new niches. Species sampling is...
Article
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p>In the version of this Article originally published, grant no. 2015/20215-7 for C.N. was omitted from the Acknowledgements section. This has now been corrected in all versions of the Article.</p
Article
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Ecuador is one of the most reptile-diverse countries in the world, with 464 currently recognized species. Similar to other taxa, reptiles in Ecuador face important conservation challenges because of anthropogenic activities. Using distribution data of nearly 90% of the species of reptiles from continental Ecuador, as well as information on ecosyste...
Article
Full-text available
Anolis lizards (anoles) are textbook study organisms in evolution and ecology. Although several topics in evolutionary biology have been elucidated by the study of anoles, progress in some areas has been hampered by limited phylogenetic information on this group. Here we present a phylogenetic analysis of all 379 extant species of Anolis, with new...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Small geographic ranges make species especially prone to extinction from anthropogenic disturbances or natural stochastic events. We assemble and analyse a comprehensive dataset of all the world's lizard species and identify the species with the smallest ranges—those known only from their type localities. We compare them to wide-ranging specie...
Article
Full-text available
We describe two new species of Anolis lizard that are sympatric on the Amazonian slopes of the Andes of southern Ecuador at elevations between 1440 and 1970 m. The new species may be distinguished from other Anolis by external anatomy, mitochondrial divergence and dewlap colour. We estimate the phylogenetic positions of the new species using Bayesi...
Article
Full-text available
The distributions of amphibians, birds and mammals have underpinned global and local conservation priorities, and have been fundamental to our understanding of the determinants of global biodiversity. In contrast, the global distributions of reptiles, representing a third of terrestrial vertebrate diversity, have been unavailable. This prevented th...
Article
Full-text available
In this Article originally published, owing to a technical error, the author ‘Laurent Chirio’ was mistakenly designated as a corresponding author in the HTML version, the PDF was correct. This error has now been corrected in the HTML version. Further, in Supplementary Table 3, the authors misspelt the surname of ‘Danny Meirte’; this file has now be...
Presentation
Full-text available
We report the first record of the invasive Brown Anole in South America based on nine specimens from Guayas, Ecuador.
Article
The use of sexually selected characters in inter- and intra-sexual interactions has long been of interest to evolutionary biologists. Recently, a distinction between sexually selected traits as ornaments versus weapons has been advanced. We investigated the behaviour of an enigmatic lizard with a prominent sexually dimorphic trait in an effort to d...
Article
Full-text available
Neotropical monkey lizards (Polychrus) are arboreal lizards with compressed bodies, partially fused eyelids and strikingly long, whip-like tails. The eight currently recognized species occur in the lowlands of South and Central America. Based on the largest taxon and character sampling to date, we analyze three mitochondrial and one nuclear gene us...
Article
Full-text available
Riama is the most speciose genus of the Neotropical lizard family Gymnophthalmidae. Its more than 30 montane species occur throughout the northern Andes, the Cordillera de la Costa (CC) in Venezuela, and Trinidad. We present the most comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of Riama to date based on a total evidence (TE) approach and direct optimization...
Article
Full-text available
Ecuador's territory harbors a unique set of species and ecosystems, many of them endemic to the countries' territory and subject to different sources of threat of anthropogenic origin. Despite national and subnational conservation strategies developed in Ecuador to conserve its biodiversity in the long run, including the National System of Protecte...
Article
Full-text available
We report the first record of the invasive Brown Anole, Anolis sagrei Duméril & Bibron, 1837, in South America based on nine specimens from Samborondón, Guayas province, Ecuador. We also present some information related to the current distribution in Ecuador, and its possible impacts on native lizard species.
Article
Full-text available
We report the first record of the invasive Brown Anole, Anolis sagrei Duméril & Bibron, 1837, in South America based on nine specimens from Samborondón, Guayas province, Ecuador. We also present some information related to the current distribution in Ecuador, and its possible impacts on native lizard species.
Article
Full-text available
Anolis biporcatus is a large green anole found in southern Mexico, Central America and northern South Amer-ica. We examined morphological, molecular, and ecological aspects of specimens from localities throughout the range of A. biporcatus and found evidence that warrants elevating A. biporcatus parvauritus to species status. A. parvauritus differs...
Article
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Studies of highly migratory species that increase our understanding of the dynamicsof genetic diversity, migratory routes, and genetic connectivity are essential for informing conservationactions. Genetic data for green turtles Chelonia mydas from Ecuador have only been availablefrom Galápagos Islands (GPS) rookeries, but not from foraging aggregat...