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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Extreme genetic diversity in the lizard Atlantolacerta andreanskyi (Werner, 1929): A montane cryptic species complex

Mafalda Barata123*, Salvador Carranza3 and D James Harris12

Author affiliations

1 CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos. Campus Agrário de Vairão, Vairão, 4485-661, Portugal

2 Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Porto, 4099-002, Portugal

3 Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-UPF), Barcelona, E-08003, Spain

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Citation and License

BMC Evolutionary Biology 2012, 12:167  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-167

Published: 4 September 2012

Abstract

Background

Atlantolacerta andreanskyi is an enigmatic lacertid lizard that, according to the most recent molecular analyses, belongs to the tribe Eremiadini, family Lacertidae. It is a mountain specialist, restricted to areas above 2400 m of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco with apparently no connection between the different populations. In order to investigate its phylogeography, 92 specimens of A. andreanskyi were analyzed from eight different populations across the distribution range of the species for up to 1108 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA (12S, ND4 and flanking tRNA-His) and 2585 base pairs of nuclear DNA including five loci (PDC, ACM4, C-MOS, RAG1, MC1R).

Results

The results obtained with both concatenated and coalescent approaches and clustering methods, clearly show that all the populations analyzed present a very high level of genetic differentiation for the mitochondrial markers used and are also generally differentiated at the nuclear level.

Conclusions

These results indicate that A. andreanskyi is an additional example of a montane species complex.

Keywords:
Atlantolacerta andreanskyi; Lacertidae; Mountain specialist; High Atlas Mountains; Phylogeography; Morocco