Genetic and morphological differentiation of Mosor rock lizards, Dinarolacerta mosorensis (Kolombatovic, 1886), with the description of a new species from the Prokletije Mountain Massif (Montenegro) (Squamata : Lacertidae)
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A new species of lacertid lizard of the genus Dinarolacerta is described from the Prokletije Mountain Massif, Montenegro. This new species, Dinarolacerta montenegrina sp. nov., is characterized by its relatively small size, by usually having only one postnasal scale on one or on both sides of the head, a relatively lower number of temporal and postocular scales and a relatively high number of ventral scales. Osteologically, it is mainly characterized by the complete absence of the anteromedial process in the postocular bone, and more reduced supraocular osteoderms. The phylogenetic analysis using partial sequences of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene supports the specific status of D. montenegrina sp. nov. and shows that it represents an old independent lineage that separated from its sister species, D. mosorensis, in the late Miocene. The Moraca river canyon may have acted as a geomorphological and climatic barrier causing the speciation between the two species of Dinarolacerta. The discovery of this new species endemic to the Balkan Peninsula highlights the importance of the Dinarides as one of the main European hotspots of biodiversity. This high level of endemicity in the Dinaric region is probably the result of both its geographic situation and its complex geological history and morphology.