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Closed Access item Elusive but widespread? The potential distribution and genetic variation of Hyalosaurus koellikeri (Günther, 1873) in the Maghreb

Authors:Pous, Philip de
Mora, Elisa
Metallinou, Margarita
Escoriza, Daniel
Comas, Mar
Donaire, David
Pleguezuelos, Juan M.
Carranza, Salvador
Issue Date:1-Aug-2011
Publisher:Brill Academic Publishers
Citation:Amphibia-Reptilia 32 (3) : 385-397 (2011)
Abstract:The genetic variability and the potential distribution under past (Last Glacial Maximum; LGM (MIROC and CCSM simulations)) and present conditions were studied for the anguid Hyalosaurus koellikeri, using analyses of two mitochondrial (ND1 and ND2) and one nuclear (PRLR) gene and species distribution modelling (SDM) including 19 geographical coordinates, covering most of its distribution range. Unexpectedly, the genetic results show that H. koellikeri presents a very low level of variability both in the mitochondrial and nuclear genes studied. The present predicted distribution of H. koellikeri revealed a large potential distribution in both north and eastwards directions, with suitable areas predicted in places where the species has never been reported before, as for instance the Rif Mountains in Morocco, as well as into most parts of northern Algeria and Tunisia. The LGM distribution is even larger compared to the present, with a continuous predicted distribution from Morocco to Tunisia, and even into Libya under the MIROC simulation. The results of the genetic and SDM analyses suggest that the now isolated populations from Debdou and Tlemcen have probably been in contact during the LGM, but its absence from both present and past predicted suitable areas is still a mystery. Hyalosaurus koellikeri depends mainly on closed deciduous forests (typically Cedrus atlantica and Quercus sp.) and open deciduous shrubland with high amounts of annual rainfall. The results of this study and the absence of recent sightings of the species outside the core distribution might indicate a regression of the species. Hence, a reevaluation of the conservation status of the species seems warranted.
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/017353711X587732
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/42627
ISSN:0173-5373
E-ISSNmetadata.dc.identifier.doi = DOI:1568-5381
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