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Catarina Rato

Auxiliary Researcher

Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources



I am an Auxiliary Researcher from the Functional Biodiversity group @CIBIO-InBIO/BIOPOLIS.

My main interests are focused on several aspects of evolutionary biology and ecology, using reptiles as model species. 

Using my phylogeographical background, I run several projects on determining the geographical origin of many introduced reptile populations.

More recently, with the use of metabarcoding I am investigating the diet of these introduced populations and their impact on native taxa. 



  • Dietary studies under a metabarcoding approach
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Madeira Island


Hières archipelago

Reunión island

  • Unraveling the geographic origin of introduced populations



Interested in any of these projects? Contact me for more details.




COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Reprints of published articles are provided as a service to enhance accessibility and the exchange of information. All copyrights remain with the original publishers of the articles. Please make only a single copy of any article, for personal use only.



Guedes, P, dos Santos, Y, Matilde, E, Alves, J, Rato, C, Rocha, R. 2023. Phylogenetic relationships of the West African mud turtle (Pelusios castaneus) in the oceanic islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, West Central Africa. Amphibia-Reptilia. DOI:10.1163/15685381-bja10145. PDF

Nóbrega, EK, Toshkova, N, Gonçalves, A, Reis, A, Soto, EJ, Ruiz, SP, Mata, VA, Rato, C, Rocha, R. 2023. Insights into the distribution, phylogeny, and diet of Pipistrellus maderensis in Porto Santo, northeastern Macaronesia. Web Ecology. 23: 87-98. PDF


Belluardo, F., Cocca, W., Pellitteri-Rosa, D., Liuzzi, C., Rato, C., Crottini, A., Bellati, A. 2023. Multilocus phylogeography of Italian Moorish geckos adds insights into the evolutionary history of European populations. Zoologica Scripta. dot: 10.1111/zsc.12642. PDF

Rato, C., Deso, G., Renet, J., Delaugerre, M.J., Marques, V., Mochales-Riaño, G. 2023. Colonization routes uncovered in a widely introduced Mediterranean gecko, Tarentola mauritanica (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae). Scientific Reports. 13:16681. PDF


Rato C, Silva-Rocha I, Sillero N. 2023. What does the future hold for a thermophilic and widely introduced gecko, Tarentola mauritanica (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae)? Biological Invasions. PDF

Marques, V, Mochales G, Carretero MA, Silva-Rocha I, Rato C. 2023. Sex determination and optimal development in the Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica. Acta Zoologica. 104: 419-433. PDF


Rato C., Mateo J.A., Sreelatha L.B., Carretero M.A. 2023. Alien but not that one: a molecular reassessment of the Alborán Island’s Saurodactylus Fitzinger, 1846 gecko. BioInvasions Records. PDF



Rato C, Dellinger T, Carretero MA. 2022. Dietary Variation Is Driven by Landscape Heterogeneity in an Insular Omnivorous Endemic Lizard, Revealed by DNA Metabarcoding. Diversity. 14(2), 1078. PDF

Martins B, Silva-Rocha I, Rocha R, Mata VA, Gonçalves Y, Rato C. 2022. Trophic interactions of an invasive gecko in an endemic-rich oceanic island: insights using DNA metabarcoding. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. PDF 

Oliveira,P, Gomes V, Mochales G, Rato C. 2022. Ontogenic differences and sexual dimorphism of the locomotor performance in a nocturnal gecko, Tarentola mauritanica. Journal of Experimental Zoology - Part A. DOI: 10.1002/jez.2645. PDF

Silva-Rocha I, Santos JM, Rocha R, Rato C. 2022. Bioclimatic and local drivers modulating the expansion of an introduced temperate reptile in a subtropical island. Global Ecology and Conservation. 37. PDF 



Rato, C.; Marques, V.; Paracuellos, M.; Tortolero, J.; Nevado, J.C.; Carretero, M.A. 2021. Alborán Island, a small meeting point for three invasive lizards, whose geographic origin is uncovered by molecular analysis. BioInvasions Records. 10: 977-990. PDF

Rato, C.; Sillero, N.; Ceacero, F.; García-Muñoz, E.; Carretero, M. A. 2021. A survival story: evolutionary history of the Iberian Algyroides (Squamata: Lacertidae), an endemic lizard relict. Biodiversity and Conservation. 30: 2707–2729. PDF


Rato, C.; Martins, B.; Rocha, R.; Silva-Rocha, I. 2021. Uncovered genetic diversity in Hemidactylus mabouia (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) from Madeira Island reveals uncertain sources of introduction. Amphibia-Reptilia. 42: 369-375. PDF


Rato, C.; Stratakis, M.; Sousa-Guedes, D.; Sillero, N.; Corti ,C.; Freitas, S.; Harris, D. J.; Carretero, M.A. 2021. The more you search the more you find: Cryptic diversity and admixture within the rock-lizard Darevskia rudis group. Zoologica Scripta. 50: 193-209. PDF



Barroso, F.M.; Riaño, G.; Sannolo, M.; Carretero, M.A.; Rato, C. 2020. Evidence from Tarentola mauritanica (Gekkota: Phyllodactylidae) helps validate thermography as a tool to infer internal body temperatures of lizards. Journal of Thermal Biology. 93: PDF

Deso, G.; Renet, J.; Gomez, M.-C.; Priol, P.; Capoulade, F.; Geoffroy, D.; Duguet, R.; Rato, C. 2020. Documenting the introduction of the Moorish gecko Tarentola mauritanica (Linnaeus, 1758) (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae) on the Levant and Port-Cros Islands (Hyères Archipelago, Var department, France). Herpetology Notes. 13: 809-812. PDF


Santos, Joana L.; Žagar, Anamarija; Drašler, Katarina; Rato, Catarina; Ayres, César; Harris, D. James; Carretero, Miguel A.; Salvi, Daniele. 2019. Phylogeographic evidence for multiple long-distance introductions of the common wall lizard associated with human trade and transport. Amphibia-Reptilia. 40(1): 121-127 DOI:10.1163/15685381-20181040. PDF 



Massetti,F., Kaliontzopoulou, A., Gomes, V., Rato, C. 2018. Variation in morphology and functional performance across distinct evolutionary lineages of the Moorish gecko (Tarentola mauritanica ) from the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 2018: 1-14. PDF




Massetti,F., Perera, A., Gomes, V., Rato, C., Kaliontzopoulou, A. 2017.  Morphological and functional implications of sexual size dimorphism in the Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 122 (1): 197-209. PDF

Rosado, D., Rato, C., Salvi, D., Harris, D.J. 2017. Evolutionary history of the Morocco lizard-fingered geckos of the Saurodactylus brosseti complex. Evolutionary Biology. 44 (3): 386-400 . PDF





Rato, C., Harris, D.J., Carranza, S., Machado, L., Perera, A. 2016. The taxonomy of the Tarentola mauritanica species complex (Gekkota: Phyllodactylidae): Bayesian species delimitation supports six candidate species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 94: 271-278. PDF


Tomé, B., Rato, C., Harris, D.J., Perera, A. 2016. High diversity of Hepatozoon spp. in geckos of the genus Tarentola. Journal of Parasitology. 102 (4): 476-480. PDF





Santos, X., Ayllón, E., Bertolero, A., Bosch, J., Cabido, C., Carranza, S., Carretero, M.A., Díaz-Paniagua, C., Egea-Serrano, A., Garin-Barrio, I., Giménez, A., Gosá, A., Graciá, E., Guicking, D., Llorente, G.A., Martínez-Solano, I., Mateo, J.A., Montori, A., Palomar, G., Perera, A., Pinya, S., Pretus, J.L., Pujol-Buxó, E., Rato, C., Recuero, E., Sanz-Azkue, I., Silva-Rocha, I., Vasconcelos, R., Velo-Antón, G., Vörös, J., Pleguezuelos, J.M. 2015. Conclusiones y propuestas de manejo de las poblaciones y especies de anfibios y reptiles alóctonos en España. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española. 26 (2): 113-115. PDF


Santos, X., Ayllón, E., Bertolero, A., Bosch, J., Cabido, C., Carranza, S., Carretero, M.A., Díaz-Paniagua, C., Egea-Serrano, A., Garin-Barrio, I., Giménez, A., Gosá, A., Graciá, E., Guicking, D., Llorente, G.A., Martínez-Solano, I., Mateo, J.A., Montori, A., Palomar, G., Perera, A., Pinya, S., Pretus, J.L., Pujol-Buxó, E., Rato, C., Recuero, E., Sanz-Azkue, I., Silva-Rocha, I., Vasconcelos, R., Velo-Antón, G., Vörös, J., Pleguezuelos, J.M. 2015. Propuesta de revisión de los listados y catálogos nacionales y autonómicos de especies amenazadas y protegidas, y del catálogo nacional de especies invasoras. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española. 26 (2): 108-112. PDF


Santos, X., Ayllón, E., Bertolero, A., Bosch, J., Cabido, C., Carranza, S., Carretero, M.A., Díaz-Paniagua, C., Egea-Serrano, A., Garin-Barrio, I., Giménez, A., Gosá, A., Graciá, E., Guicking, D., Llorente, G.A., Martínez-Solano, I., Mateo, J.A., Montori, A., Palomar, G., Perera, A., Pinya, S., Pretus, J.L., Pujol-Buxó, E., Rato, C., Recuero, E., Sanz-Azkue, I., Silva-Rocha, I., Vasconcelos, R., Velo-Antón, G., Vörös, J., Pleguezuelos, J.M. 2015. Síntesis de las introducciones de anfibios y reptiles en España. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española. 26 (2): 98-108. PDF


Rato, C. 2015. La salamanquesa común (Tarentola mauritanica) en la península Ibérica e islas baleares. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española. 26 (2): 55-58. PDF


Rato, C., Yıldız, M.Z., İğci, N., Olgun, K., Ilgaz, Ç, Avcı, A., Ahmadzadeh, F., Carretero, M.A. 2015. Phylogenetic relationships of the populations of Iranolacerta brandtii (de Filippi, 1863) (Squamata: Lacertidae) recently found in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Zoology in the Middle East. 61 (4): 324-331. PDF


Rato, C., Carretero, M.A. 2015. Ecophysiology tracks phylogeny and meets ecological models in an Iberian gecko. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 88 (5): 564-575. PDF


Rato, C., Harris, D.J., Perera, A., Carvalho, S.B., Carretero, M.A., Rödder, D. 2015. A combination of divergence and conservatism in the niche evolution of Tarentola mauritanica (Gekkota: Phyllodactylidae). ​PLoS One. 10 (5): e0127980. PDF


Rato, C, Resendes, R., Tristão da Cunha, R., Harris, D.J. 2015.  First record of Tarentola substituta Joger, 1984, and genetic identification of Tarentola mauritanica (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Azores. Herpetozoa. 27 (3/4): 182-187. PDF


Rato, C, Silva-Rocha, I., García-Miras, E., García-Cardenete, L., Fariña, B., Carretero, M.A. 2015. A molecular assessment of European populations of Indotyphlops braminus (Daudin, 1803). Herpetozoa. 27 (3/4): 179-182. PDF




Carretero, M.A., Rato, C. 2013. Una observación de actividad nocturna en Psammodromus algirus. Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española. 24(2): 6-8. PDF


García-Muñoz, E., Rato, C., Jorge. F., Carretero, M.A. 2013. Lateralization in escape behaviour at different hierarchical levels in a gecko: Tarentola angustimentalis from eastern Canary Islands. PLoS One. 8(11): e78329. PDF

Harris, D.J., Rato, C. 2013. Why are red list species not on the EDGE? A reply to Winter et al. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 28(6): 321-322. PDF

Molecular Ecology Resources Primer Development, C., Arranz, S. E., Avarre, J.-C., Balasundaram, C., Bouza, C., Calcaterra, N. B., Cezilly, F., Chen, S.-l., Cipriani, G., Cruz, V. P., D'Esposito, D., Daniel, C., Dejean, A., Dharaneedharan, S., Díaz, J., Du, M., Durand, J.-D., Dziadek, J., Foresti, F., Peng-cheng, F., Gao, Q.-b., García, G., Gauffre-Autelin, P., Giovino, A., Goswami, M., Guarino, C., Guerra-Varela, J., Gutiérrez, V., Harris, D. J., Heo, M.-S., Khan, G., Kim, M., Lakra, W. S., Lauth, J., Leclercq, P., Lee, J., Lee, S.-H., Lee, S., Lee, T., Li, Y.-h., Liu, H., Liu, S., Malé, P.-J. G., Mandhan, R. P., Martinez, P., Mayer, V. E., Mendel, J., Mendes, N. J., F. Mendonça, F., Minias, A., Minias, P., Oh, K.-S., Oliveira, C., Orivel, J., Orsini, L., Pardo, B. G., Perera, A., Procaccini, G., Rato, C., Ríos, N., Scibetta, S., Sharma, B. S., Sierens, T., Singh, A., Terer, T., Triest, L., Urbánková, S., Vera, M., Villanova, G. V., Voglmayr, H., Vyskočilová, M., Wang, H., Wang, J.-l., Wattier, R. A., Xing, R., Yadav, K., Yin, G., Yuan, Y., Yun, J.-C., Zhang, F.-q., Zhang, J.-h. & Zhuang, Z. 2013. Permanent Genetic Resources added to Molecular Ecology Resources Database 1 December 2012–31 January 2013. Molecular Ecology Resources 13: 546-549. PDF

Rato, C., Carranza, S, Perera, A., Harris, D.J. 2013. Evolutionary patterns of the mitochondrial genome in the Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica. Gene, 512 (1) 166-173. PDF


Santos, X.; Rato, C.; Carranza, S.; Carretero, M. A. & Pleguezuelos, J. M. 2012. Complex phylogeography in the Southern Smooth Snake Coronella girondica supported by mtDNA sequences. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 50 (3): 210-219. PDF

Santos, X.; Rato, C.; Carranza, S.; Carretero, M. A. & Pleguezuelos, J. M. 2012. Morphology matches mtDNA lineages in the smooth snake Coronella girondica from (Southeastern) Iberia. Zoology, 115: 398-404. PDF

Rato, C., Carranza, S., Harris, D.J. 2012. Evolutionary history of the genus Tarentola (Gekkota: Phyllodactylidae) from the Mediterranean Basin, using multilocus sequence data. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12:14, doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-14. PDF


García-Muñoz, E., Jorge, F., Rato, C., Carretero, M. A. 2011. Pseudoepidalea brongersmai (Brongersma’s Toad) predation. Herpetological Review, 42(3): 413-414. PDF

Rato, C., Carranza, Harris, D.J., 2011. When selection deceives phylogeographic interpretation: The case of the Mediterranean house gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus (Linnaeus, 1758). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 58, 365-373. PDF


García-Muñoz E., Jorge F., Rato C., Carretero MA. 2010. Four types of malformations in a population of Bufo boulengeri (Amphibia, Anura, Bufonidae) from the Jbilet Mountains (Marrakech, Morocco). Herpetology Notes, 3: 267-270 . PDF

Rato, C., Carranza, S., Perera, A., Carretero, M.A., Harris, D.J., 2010. Conflicting patterns of nucleotide diversity between mtDNA and nDNA in the Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 56, 962-971. PDF


Rato, C., Zuffi, M.A.L., Corti, C., Fornasiero, S., Gentilli, A., Razzetti, E., Scali, S., Carretero, M.A., Harris, D.J., 2009. Phylogeography of the European Whip Snake, Hierophis viridiflavus (Colubridae), using mtDNA and nuclear DNA sequences. Amphibia-Reptilia 30, 283-289. PDF


Harris, D.J., Carretero, M.A., Brito, J.C., Kaliontzopoulou, A., Pinho, C., Perera, A., Vasconcelos, R., Barata, M., Barbosa, D., Carvalho, S., Fonseca, M.M., Pérez-Lanuza, G., Rato, C., 2008. Data on the distribution of the terrestrial herpetofauna of Morocco: records from 2001-2006. Herpetological Bulletin 103, 19-28. PDF

Rato, C., Harris, D.J., 2008. Genetic variation within Saurodactylus and its phylogenetic relationships within the Gekkonoidea estimated from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Amphibia-Reptilia 29, 25-34. PDF


Rato, C., Brito, J.C., Carretero, M.A., Larbes, S., Shacham, B., Harris, D.J., 2007. Phylogeography and genetic diversity of Psammophis schokari (Serpentes) in North Africa based on mitochondrial DNA sequences. African Zoology 42, 112-117. PDF




​Web documents of Science Outreach


Rato, C. 2012. Salamanquesa rosada – Hemidactylus turcicus. In: Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Salvador, A., Marco, A. (Eds.). Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid.


CIBIO/InBIO - Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, nº7

4485-661, Vairão, Vila do Conde, Portugal

catarina.rato[at] \\ catirato[at]        

 Tel: +351 252660411

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