South Australian Museum Staff
- Senior Researcher
Dr Mark Hutchinson is Senior Researcher in the Herpetology Section, and is also an affiliated staff member of both the University of Adelaide (Affiliate Lecturer, the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences) and Flinders University (Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences). He has had a life-long interest in the natural world in general, but reptiles and amphibians, especially the spectacularly diverse Australian lizard fauna, have been the focus of his research activity.
Mark Hutchinson was educated at La Trobe University in Melbourne where he gained a BSc(Hons) degree in 1977 and a PhD in 1984. He spent two and a half years in the United States on postdoctoral study at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and the University of Illinois (Urbana).
While at La Trobe University he carried out work including biochemical systematic studies of lizards and speciation of the cold-adapted lizards of south eastern Australia and Tasmania. He also collaborated with palaeontologist Anne Warren on a series of studies of early fossil amphibians. While in the USA he worked on the evolutionary relationships among Australia's frogs, establishing some of the first hypotheses of relationship for these animals based on interpretations of molecular evolution.
He has been at the South Australian Museum since 1990, His research interests have mostly centred on the classification and evolution of lizards and snakes, many carried out with long-time collaborator Steve Donnellan. Currently he is participating in multidisciplinary research sorting out the species level classification of Australian lizards, and using fossil evidence and DNA sequencing to look at the evolutionary history of the major Australian lizard groups. Another long-term interest has been in the conservation and distribution of reptiles in South Australia, the centrepiece of which has been research into the conservation of the critically endangered pygmy bluetongue lizard.
- Reptile diversity, habits, conservation, anatomy
- Conservation of the Pygmy Bluetongue lizard
- Snakes and snake bites
- Evolution of reptiles
- Fossil history of lizards
Hugi, J., Hutchinson, M.N., Koyabu, M. & Sanchez-Villagra, M.R. (2012) Heterochronic shifts in the ossification sequences of surface- and subsurface-dwelling skinks are correlated with the degree of limb reduction. Zoology 115, 188– 98.
Working with a group at the University of Zurich on skeleton development in lizards, we found that some lizard species that are elongate, short-legged burrowers have different timing of when some parts of the skeleton form compared with a 'normal' surface dwelling relative.
Brennan, K.E.C., Morley, T., Hutchinson, M. & Donnellan, S. (2012) Redescription of the western desert taipan Oxyuranus temporalis (Serpentes: Elapidae) with notes on its distribution, diet and genetic variation. Australian Journal of Zoology 59: 227-235.
The western desert taipan was only discovered in 2006, from a single immature specimen, but extra, adult animals have now been found and this paper describes their appearance and makes some preliminary conclusions about the ecology and distribution of the species.
Bower, D.S., Hutchinson, M.N. & Georges, A. (2012) Movement and habitat use of Australia's largest snake-necked turtle: implications for water management. Journal of Zoology 287: 76-80.
Deb Bower did her PhD studies on this large turtle that is rated as Vulnerable in the Lower Murray in SA; this paper shows that males, especially, are very mobile and may move large distances (several km) using both the main channel and adjacent billabongs.
Sistrom, M. J., Edwards, D., Donnellan, S. & Hutchinson, M. (2012) Morphological differentiation correlates with ecological but not genetic divergence in a Gehyra gecko. Molecular Ecology 25: 647-660. doi/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02460.x.
From the work of another PhD student, Mark Sistrom. We investigated populations of a rock-dwelling gecko are very much larger (half again as long and twice the mass) iIn the northern Flinders Ranges than elsewhere, thinking it would be a different species. However it looks like these large animals are not genetically distinct from their relatives; instead local conditions appear to favour very large size in just this region.
Hutchinson, M.N., Skinner, A. &, Lee, M.S.Y. (2012) Tikiguania and the antiquity of squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes). Biology Letters doi/10.1098/rsbl.2011.1216.
A fossil lizard, Tikiguania, was described from Triassic sediments (210 My old)as the earliest known lizard. In this paper we show that it is indistinguishable form a group of living species in the same area today and conclude that the fossil is one of these recent species that was preserved in superficial exposures of old sediments.
Pepper, M., Doughty, P., Hutchinson, M.N. & Keogh, J.S. (2011) Ancient drainages divide cryptic species in Australia's arid zone: morphological and multi-gene evidence for four new species of beaked geckos (Rhynchoedura). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61, 810-822.
The beaked gecko is found right across Australia, missing only from the cold SE and wet tropical northeast. Studies of its genetic variation (a collaboration with ANU researchers) revealed that the 'species' comprises five genetically distinct and reproductively isolated species.
Hutchinson, M. N. & Hutchinson, R. G. (2011) The karyotype of the thorny devil, Moloch horridus. Journal of Herpetology 45: 216-218.
The number and shape of the chromosomes (the karyotype) of the thorny devil show that it has a separate evolutionary history from all other arid zone members of its family (the dragon lizard family Agamidae).
Hutchinson, M. N., Doughty, P. & Oliver, P. (2009) Taxonomic revision of the stone geckos (Squamata: Diplodactylidae: Diplodactylus) of southern Australia. Zootaxa 2167: 25–46.
Hutchinson, M. N. & Scanlon, J. D. (2009) A new and unusual Plio-Pleistocene lizard (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Wellington Caves, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Herpetology 43: 139-147.
Gardner, M. G., Donnellan, S. C., Hutchinson, M. N., Foster, R. & Hugall, A. F. (2008) Molecular systematics of social skinks: phylogeny and taxonomy of the Egernia group (Reptilia: Scincidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 154: 781-794.
Oliver, P., Hutchinson, M. N. & Cooper, S. J. B. (2007) Phylogenetic relationships in the lizard genus Diplodactylus Gray, 1832, and resurrection of Lucasium Wermuth, 1965 (Gekkota, Diplodactylinae). Australian Journal of Zoology 55: 197-210
Doughty, P., Maryan, B., Donnellan, S. C. & Hutchinson, M. N. (2007) A new species of taipan (Elapidae: Oxyuranus) from central Australia. Zootaxa 1422: 45-58