Morphology of the smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris) in former Yugoslavia: Taxonomical implications and distribution patterns
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The morphological traits of the smooth newt, Triturus vulgaris (LINNAEUS, 1758), have been studied in a considerable number of population samples from former Yugoslavia, taxonomically the most intriguing area of the Balkans. We found a great deal of variation in various morphological traits, more than previously thought, including those used to delimit subspecies. However, relevant taxonomic conclusions could be suggested from such variability patterns. We reaffirmed the possibility of the existence of two separate population groups within the range of the T. v. graecus subspecies. One group occurs in the area of southern Herzegovina and Montenegro, which was described a long time ago as the tomasinii form or subspecies (T. v. tomasinii). The other group is from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (T. v. graecus sensu stricto). Rather broad intergradation zones of tomasinii x T. v. vulgaris and T. v. meridionalis x T. v. vulgaris were determined. The former zone occurs mostly in the Oromediterranean part of the Dinaric Alps. It was found that the ranges of the smooth newt subspecies followed the Balkan zoogeographical divisions to some extent.