Australian lizards are more diverse in the country’s hot deserts, a habitat avoided by many mammals and birds. This difference suggests that conserving biodiversity hotspots for one group might not be a silver bullet for conserving other species.
Protecting areas of high biodiversity is a common conservation strategy. The approach assumes that species richness of different animal groups peaks in the same areas, dubbed biodiversity hotspots. But does it really?
‘Lizard diversity has a strikingly different distribution compared to mammals, birds and amphibians,’ says Gary Powney, who mapped the species richness of Australian lizards as part of his masters degree.
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