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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Department of Vertebrate Zoology

Division of Amphibians & Reptiles

Phyllomedusa vaillantii
Phyllomedusa vaillantii Ecuador, Pastaza Province. Photographed by William W. Lamar
bar Daniel G. Mulcahy
    Daniel G. Mulcahy
    Research Collaborator

  • Phone: (202) 633-9083
  • Fax: (202) 633-0182
  • E-mail:

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 162
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0162


Related Links

Previous postdoctoral position at BYU
Field Associate, California Academy of Sciences


B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1998.
Ph.D., Utah State University, 2006.

Research Interests

I study biogeography, systematics, and conservation biology of amphibians and reptiles.  My primary interests are in the processes involved with speciation, including vicariance, dispersal, and local adaptation to environmental regimes.  I use mitochondrial and nuclear sequence data to track the evolutionary histories within species complexes in association with geography and to test phylogenetic hypotheses of more distantly related taxa at the specific, generic, and family levels.  I also use morphological data from museum specimens to address systematics and taxonomy, and physical trends with environmental conditions.  My current research is focused on co-distributed taxa in the deserts of western North America, including those affected by plate-tectonic activities associated with the formation of the Baja California Peninsula.  My postdoctoral position at the Smithsonian Institution involves a morphological revision of Nightsnakes of the genus Hypsiglena.

Selected Publications

Wiens, J. J., C. Hutter, D. G. Mulcahy, B. P. Noonan, T. M. Townsend, J. W. Sites, Jr., and T. W. Reeder.  2012. Resolving the phylogeny of lizards and snakes (Squamata) with extensive sampling of genes and species.  Biology Letters 8: 1043–1046.

Mulcahy, D. G., B. P. Noonan, T. Moss, T. M. Townsend, T. W. Reeder, J. W. Sites, Jr., and J. J. Wiens  2012.  Estimating Divergence Dates and Evaluating Dating Methods using Phylogenomic and Mitochondrial Data in Squamate Reptiles.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65(3): 974–991.

Mendelson, J. R. III, D. G. Mulcahy, S. Snell, M. E. Acevedo, and J. C. Campbell.  2012.  A New Golden Toad (Bufonidae: Incilius) from Northwestern Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico.  Journal of Herpetology 46: 473–479.

Avila-Pires, T. C. S., D. G. Mulcahy, F. P. Werneck, and J. W. Sites, Jr.  2012.  Phylogeography of the teiid lizard Kentropics calcarata and the sphaerodactylid Gonatodes humeralis (Reptilia: Squamata): Testing a geological scenario for the Lower Amazon-Tocantins basins, Amazonia, Brazil.  Herpetologica 68(2): 272–287.

Swei, A., et al. 2011 [33 co-authors]. Is chytridiomycosis an emerging amphibian disease in Asia?  PLoS One 6(8): e23179.

Mulcahy, D. G., T. H. Beckstead, and J. W. Sites, Jr.  2011. Molecular Systematics of the Leptodeirini (Colubroidea, Dipsadidae) Revisited: Species-tree analyses and multi-locus data.  Copeia 2011(3): 407–417.

Mendelson, J. R. III, D. G. Mulcahy, S. T. Williams, and J. W. Sites, Jr.  2011.  A Phylogeny and Evolutionary Natural History of Mesoamerican Toads (Anura: Bufonidae).  Zootaxa 3138: 1–34.

Heideman, N., D. G. Mulcahy, J. W. Sites, Jr., M. G. J. Hendricks, and S. R. Daniels.  2011.  Cryptic diversity and morphological convergence in threatened species of fossorial skinks in the genus Scelotes (Squamata: Scincidae) from the Western Cape Coast of South Africa: Implications for species boundaries, digit reduction and conservation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61(3): 823–833.

Townsend, T. M., D. G. Mulcahy, B. P. Noonan, J. W. Sites, Jr., C. A. Kuczynski, J. J. Wiens, and T. W. Reeder.  2011. Phylogeny of iguanian lizards inferred from 29 nuclear loci, and a comparison of concatenated and species-tree approaches for an ancient, rapid radiation.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 61(2): 363–380.

Wiens, J. J., C. A. Kuczynski, T. M. Townsend, T. W. Reeder, D. G. Mulcahy, and J. W. Sites, Jr.  2010.  Combining phylogenomics and fossils in higher-level squamate phylogeny: molecular data change the placement of fossil taxa.  Systematic Biology 59(6): 674–688.

Mendelson, J.R. III and D. G. Mulcahy.  2010.  A New Species of Toad (Bufonidae: Incilius) from Central Panama.  Zootaxa 2396: 61–68.

Reyes-Velasco, J. and D. G. Mulcahy.  2010.  Additional taxonomic remarks on the genus Pseudoleptodeira (Serpentes: Colubridae) and the phylogenetic placement of “P. uribei.”  Herpetologica 66(1): 99–110.

Notes and Other Contributions

Mulcahy, D. G.  2009.  Goode’s Horned Lizard.  Species account pg. 174–177 In:  L. L. C. Jones and R. E. Lovich eds. Lizards of the American Southwest, Rio Nuevo Publishers, Tucson, AZ.

Mulcahy, D. G. and M. J. Mahoney.  2006.  Historical Perspectives: Robert Cyril Stebbins.  Copeia 2006(3): 563–572.

Setser, K. W., D. G. Mulcahy, and B. L. Williams.  2003.  Lampropeltis triangulum Natural History Notes: Habitat.  Herpetological Review 34(2): 150.

Feldman, C. R. and D. G. Mulcahy.  2003.  Ambystoma macrodactylum Geographic Distributions.  Herpetological Review 34(2): 160.

Feldman, C. R., D. G. Mulcahy, and R. W. Hansen.  2003.  Xantusia vigilis Geographic Distributions.  Herpetological Review 34(2): 160.

Mulcahy, D. G., J. R. Mendelson III, K. W. Setser, and E. Hollenbeck.  2003  Crotalus cerastes Natural History Notes: Predator/Prey weight-ratio.  Herpetological Review 34(1): 64.

Mulcahy, D. G. and K. W. Setser.  2002.  Scaphiopus couchii Geographic Distributions.  Herpetological Review 33(1): 64.

Mulcahy, D. G. and K. W. Setser.  2002.  Hypsiglena torquata  Geographic Distributions.  Herpetological Review 33(1): 67–68.

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