Hidden diversity in the Podarcis tauricus (Sauria, Lacertidae) species subgroup in the light of multilocus phylogeny and species delimitation
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© 2016 Elsevier Inc.
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The monophyletic species subgroup of Podarcis tauricus is distributed in the western and southern parts of the Balkans, and includes four species with unresolved and unstudied inter- and intra-specific phylogenetic relationships. Using sequence data from two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes and applying several phylogenetic methods and species delimitation approaches to an extensive dataset, we have reconstructed the phylogeny of the Podarcis wall lizards in the Balkans, and re-investigated the taxonomic status of the P. tauricus species subgroup. Multilocus analyses revealed that the aforementioned subgroup consists of five major clades, with P. melisellensis as its most basal taxon. Monophyly of P. tauricus sensu stricto is not supported, with one of the subspecies (P. t. ionicus) displaying great genetic diversity (hidden diversity or cryptic species). It comprises five, geographically distinct, subclades with genetic distances on the species level. Species delimitation approaches revealed nine species within the P. tauricus species subgroup (P. melisellensis, P. gaigeae, P. milensis, and six in the P. tauricus complex), underlining the necessity of taxonomic re-evaluation. We thus synonymize some previously recognized subspecies in this subgroup, elevate P. t. tauricus and P. g. gaigeae to the species level and suggest a distinct Albanian-Greek clade, provisionally named as the P. ionicus species complex. The latter clade comprises five unconfirmed candidate species that call for comprehensive studies in the future.
Keywords:Coalescent methods; Hidden genetic diversity; Phylogenetic analyses; Species complex; Species delimitation
- Evolution in Heterogeneous Environments: Adaptation Mechanisms, Biomonitoring and Conservation of Biodiversity (RS-173025)
- Comenius University grants UK/20/2014
- Comenius University grants UK/37/2015
- Slovak Research and Development Agency under the contract No. APVV-0147-15
- NSFR 2007-2013 programme for development, European Social Fund, Operational Programme, Education and Lifelong Learning investing in knowledge society, Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Managing Authority, Co-financed by Greece and the European Union
In: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (2017), 106: 6-17