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Mitochondrial phylogeography, contact zones and taxonomy of grass snakes (Natrix natrix, N. megalocephala)

AutorKindler, Carolin; Böhme, Wolfgang; Corti, Claudia; Gvoždík, Václav; Jablonski, Daniel; Jandzik, D.; Metallinou, Margarita ; Široký, Pavel; Fritz, U.
Fecha de publicaciónsep-2013
EditorJohn Wiley & Sons
CitaciónZoologica Scripta 42(5): 458-472 (2013)
ResumenGrass snakes (Natrix natrix) represent one of the most widely distributed snake species of the Palaearctic region, ranging from the North African Maghreb region and the Iberian Peninsula through most of Europe and western Asia eastward to the region of Lake Baikal in Central Asia. Within N. natrix, up to 14 distinct subspecies are regarded as valid. In addition, some authors recognize big-headed grass snakes from western Transcaucasia as a distinct species, N. megalocephala. Based on phylogenetic analyses of a 1984-bp-long alignment of mtDNA sequences (ND4+tRNAs, cyt b) of 410 grass snakes, a nearly range-wide phylogeography is presented for both species. Within N. natrix, 16 terminal mitochondrial clades were identified, most of which conflict with morphologically defined subspecies. These 16 clades correspond to three more inclusive clades from (i) the Iberian Peninsula plus North Africa, (ii) East Europe and Asia and (iii) West Europe including Corso-Sardinia, the Apennine Peninsula and Sicily. Hypotheses regarding glacial refugia and postglacial range expansions are presented. Refugia were most likely located in each of the southern European peninsulas, Corso-Sardinia, North Africa, Anatolia and the neighbouring Near and Middle East, where the greatest extant genetic diversity occurs. Multiple distinct microrefugia are inferred for continental Italy plus Sicily, the Balkan Peninsula, Anatolia and the Near and Middle East. Holocene range expansions led to the colonization of more northerly regions and the formation of secondary contact zones. Western Europe was invaded from a refuge within southern France, while Central Europe was reached by two distinct range expansions from the Balkan Peninsula. In Central Europe, there are two contact zones of three distinct mitochondrial clades, and one of these contact zones was theretofore completely unknown. Another contact zone is hypothesized for Eastern Europe, which was colonized, like north-western Asia, from the Caucasus region. Further contact zones were identified for southern Italy, the Balkans and Transcaucasia. In agreement with previous studies using morphological characters and allozymes, there is no evidence for the distinctiveness of N. megalocephala. Therefore, N. megalocephala is synonymized with N. natrix. © 2013 The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1111/zsc.12018
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1111/zsc.12018
issn: 0300-3256
e-issn: 463-6409
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