The skinks Eumeces algeriensis and Eumeces schneideri are two of the most widespread species of the E. schneideri group. Despite this, data on their intra-specific variation are limited. In this study we analyse the genetic variability of these two species across their distribution range using two mitochondrial fragments, 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA. The results confirm the paraphyly of the group, with E. algeriensis more related to Scincopus than to E. schneideri. Eumeces algeriensis shows relatively low levels of genetic diversity, which is distributed in two main lineages, one across Morocco, and the other restricted to the southern region (Anti-Atlas). These results are discordant with the high diversity found in other species from the same area and suggest a relatively recent expansion of E. algeriensis across most of its current range. Regarding E. schneideri, we find high levels of genetic variability and a complex pattern of genetic diversity, concordant with the phylogeographic patterns found recently in other species from the Middle East region, but not with the current intra-specific taxonomy of this group. © 2012 Herpetological Association of Africa.
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