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Biographic History of Cerastes Vipers. A tale from the world's warmest deserts

AuthorsBarros, Margarida; Velo, Guillermo; Carranza, Salvador ; García, Luis; Brito, José; Martínez, Fernando
Issue Date2019
CitationXX European Congress of Herpetology (2019)
AbstractPleistocene climatic oscillations have influenced biogeographical patterns of species worldwide. The Sahara and Arabian deserts are outstanding regions to study the influence of climate on the genetic structure and variability of species given their dynamic history, and the diverse life-history and habitat traits of taxa inhabiting such extreme regions. This study aims to address the role of Pleistocene climatic oscillations in the evolutionary histories of the three Cerastes viper species (Viperinae): C. cerastes and C. vipera from the Sahara Desert, and C. gasperetti from the Arabian Peninsula. Phylogenetic structure was inferred using Bayesian inference over sequences (68 samples, mostly covering species ranges) for one mtDNA (COI) and three nuDNA (PRLR, NT3, VIM) gene markers. Paleoclimatic models combined 318 occurrences and five climatic variables in Maxent to infer climatic suitability for current and past (mid Holocene, Last Glacial Maximum and Last Inter Glacial) events, and stability over time. Mitochondrial inferences show C. cerastes and C. gasperetti as sister taxa, while C. vipera as a phylogenetically more distant species. Further levels of mtDNA structure within the three species originated along the middle and late Pleistocene. Nuclear inferences, however, resulted in important discordances to mtDNA patterns. Paleoclimatic models identified warm events as major drivers of range reduction and isolation for the three species. Areas of high climatic stability across the Sahara and Arabian deserts likely acted as Pleistocene climatic refugia at the intraspecific level. This multidisciplinary approach allows to propose biogeographic scenarios for the evolution of these desert-adapted species.
DescriptionPresentation given at the XX European Congress of Herpetology, held in Milan (Italy), on 2-6th September 2019.
Appears in Collections:(IBE) Comunicaciones congresos
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