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Although recent radiations are fruitful for studying the process of speciation, they are difficult to characterize and require the use of multiple loci and analytical methods that account for processes such as gene flow and genetic drift. Using multilocus sequence data, we combine hierarchical cluster analysis, coalescent species tree inference, and isolation-with-migration analysis to investigate evolutionary relationships among cryptic lineages of North American ground skinks. We also estimate the extent that gene flow has accompanied or followed diversification, and also attempt to account for and minimize the influence of gene flow when reconstructing relationships. The data best support seven largely parapatric populations that are broadly concordant with mitochondrial (mt)DNA phylogeography throughout most of the species range, although they fail to fully represent extensive mtDNA divergence along the Gulf Coast. Relationships within and among three broad geographical groups are well supported, despite evidence of gene flow among them. Rejection of an allopatric divergence model partially depends on the inclusion of samples from near parapatric boundaries in the analyses, suggesting that allopatric divergence followed by recent migration may best explain migration rate estimates. Accounting for geographical variation in patterns of gene flow can improve estimates of migration-divergence parameters and minimize the influence of contemporary gene flow on phylogenetic inference. © 2012 The Linnean Society of London.

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Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

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