Phylogenetic and phylogeographic patterns of amphisbaenians are poorly known. Molecular data from mitochondrial and nuclear loci are particularly needed for amphisbaenian phylogeny and taxonomy because their specializations to subterranean habits make morphology poorly informative and the occurrence of cryptic species probable. The Mediterranean genus Blanus includes five species - three of them have been recently studied mainly at the mitochondrial level. In this study, we collected mitochondrial (16S and nd4) and nuclear (mc1r and pomc) sequences from 49 specimens, including multiple individuals for each of the five species. We used multilocus coalescent-based species-tree inference and single-gene analyses to estimate phylogenetic relationships among Blanus and to assess patterns of intraspecific differentiation within all the five species. Species-tree and single-gene phylogenies provided strong support for the Anatolian worm lizard B. strauchi lying outside a clade comprising all other congeners, with a sister relationship between the Iberian clade (B. cinereus and B. mariae) and the North African clade (B. tingitanus and B. mettetali). Mitochondrial and nuclear data supported the genetic distinctiveness of the recently described B. mariae and also indicated that the distribution of this species is wider than previously known and overlaps with B. cinereus in central Portugal. Blanus tingitanus showed two phylogeographic groups, from the northern and the southern portion of the range, respectively, having high mitochondrial and nuclear divergence and a possible contact zone in northwestern Morrocco. Finally, high genetic variation was found within B. mettetali and B. strauchi, suggesting in the latter case, the occurrence of cryptic taxa to be tested by further research.

Phylogenetic and diversity patterns of Blanus worm lizards (squamata: Amphisbaenia): Insights from mitochondrial and nuclear gene genealogies and species tree

SALVI, Daniele
2015-01-01

Abstract

Phylogenetic and phylogeographic patterns of amphisbaenians are poorly known. Molecular data from mitochondrial and nuclear loci are particularly needed for amphisbaenian phylogeny and taxonomy because their specializations to subterranean habits make morphology poorly informative and the occurrence of cryptic species probable. The Mediterranean genus Blanus includes five species - three of them have been recently studied mainly at the mitochondrial level. In this study, we collected mitochondrial (16S and nd4) and nuclear (mc1r and pomc) sequences from 49 specimens, including multiple individuals for each of the five species. We used multilocus coalescent-based species-tree inference and single-gene analyses to estimate phylogenetic relationships among Blanus and to assess patterns of intraspecific differentiation within all the five species. Species-tree and single-gene phylogenies provided strong support for the Anatolian worm lizard B. strauchi lying outside a clade comprising all other congeners, with a sister relationship between the Iberian clade (B. cinereus and B. mariae) and the North African clade (B. tingitanus and B. mettetali). Mitochondrial and nuclear data supported the genetic distinctiveness of the recently described B. mariae and also indicated that the distribution of this species is wider than previously known and overlaps with B. cinereus in central Portugal. Blanus tingitanus showed two phylogeographic groups, from the northern and the southern portion of the range, respectively, having high mitochondrial and nuclear divergence and a possible contact zone in northwestern Morrocco. Finally, high genetic variation was found within B. mettetali and B. strauchi, suggesting in the latter case, the occurrence of cryptic taxa to be tested by further research.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/113715
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