Jaw Adductor Muscles across Lepidosaurs: A Reappraisal

Oct 1, 2011

The exact homologies of tetrapod jaw muscles remain unresolved, and this provides a barrier for phylogenetic analysis and tracing character evolution. Here, lepidosaur jaw muscles are surveyed using direct examination of species from 23 families and published descriptions of species from 10 families. A revised nomenclature is applied according to proposed homologies with Latimeria. Among lepidosaurs, variation was found in many aspects of jaw muscle anatomy. The superficial layers mm. levator and retractor anguli oris (LAO and RAO) are present in Sphenodon but not all squamates. The external jaw adductor muscles universally present in lepidosaurs are homologous with the main adductor muscle, A2, of Latimeria and include four layers: superficialis (A2-SUP), medialis (A2-M), profundus (A2-PRO), and posterior (A2-PVM). The A2-SUP appears divided in Agamidae, Gekkota, Xantusiidae, and Varanidae. The A2-M is layered lateromedial in lizards but anteroposterior in snakes. The names pseudotemporalis (PS) and pterygomandibularis (PTM) are recommended for subdivisions of the internal adductors of reptiles and amphibians, because the homology of this muscle with the A3' and A3 ″ of Latimeria remains inconclusive. The intramandibularis of lepidosaurs and Latimeria (A-ω) are homologous. The distribution of six jaw muscle characters was found to plot more parsimoniously on phylogenies based on morphological rather than and molecular data. Character mapping indicates that Squamata presents reduction in the divisions of the A2-M, Scincoidea presents reduction or loss of LAO, and two apomorphic features are found for the Gekkota.