Journal article
Molecular phylogeography of the viperine snake Natrix maura (Serpentes : Colubridae): Evidence for strong intraspecific differentiation

Publication Details
Guicking, D.; Joger, U.; Wink, M.
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Organisms Diversity and Evolution
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The molecular phylogeography of the viperine snake, Natrix maura (Linnaeus, 1758), was investigated using complete sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene and genomic ISSR-PCR fingerprinting. In a total of 120 samples, 44 unique cytochrome b haplotypes were found which defined three major genetic lineages associated with samples from Morocco, Tunisia and Europe, respectively. The same lineages were supported by nuclear data. A possible fourth lineage exists in southern Spain. Genetic distances of cytochrome b sequences between the three main lineages were in the range of 3.9-5.6%, suggesting independent evolution since the early Pliocene. Distinction of the three major lineages at the subspecies or species level is discussed to account taxonomically for the high intraspecific variation in the viperine snake. A more detailed analysis of the European samples based on genetic diversity indices and a network reconstruction suggests a complex Pleistocene history for the viperine snake in Europe. Clear differentiation was found between populations south and north of the central Iberian mountain ranges, suggesting Pleistocene glacial refugia both in the southern and northern Iberian peninsula. In the south, genetic diversity was associated with the main river valleys, whereas northern haplotypes were more broadly distributed, indicating gene flow or postglacial range expansions. Unexpectedly high levels of genetic variation in southeastern France and northwestern Italy would be compatible with the hypothesis of a glacial refugium north of the Pyrenees or in Italy. However, due to the dependence of N. maura on warm climates, the assumption of a northern refugium seems unwarranted. We believe that further sampling in northern Spain is likely to reveal genetically diverse populations which could have served as sources for postglacial recolonization of France and Italy. (c) 2008 Gesellschaft fur Biologische Systematik. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


Last updated on 2019-24-07 at 08:55