How many Archaeolacerta inhabit the Corso-Sardinian Plate? Allozyme variation and differentiation in Archaeolacerta bedriagae (Camerano, 1885)

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Archaeolacerta bedriagae is a rock lizard endemic to Corsica and Sardinia. Four subspecies have been recozied to date on the basis of morphological traits. Previous allozyme investigations revealed high genetic differentiation among populations of the species. Based on these results some authors hypothesized that more than one species of Archaeolacerta may occur on Corsica and Sardinia. In this paper we investigated allozyme variation at 19 gene loci in 5 populations belonging to all subspecies of A. bedriagae in order to study genetic differentiation among populations from Corsica and Sardinia, and to compare our results with those obtained in previous studies carried out on allozyme variation and taxonomy of the species. Low levels of genetic differentiation (average Nei's D = 0.026) and heterogeneity (mean FST = 0.147) were found comparing the A. bedriagae populations, and there was no evidence of interruption or restriction of gene flow. This is in agreement with the available molecular and morphometric data, while it is not in accordance with allozyme data reported in the previous studies. Our data do not support the hypothesis of an unrecognized criptic species of Archaeolacerta in Corsica and Sardinia, and indicate that the definitive assessment of the taxonomic status of the A. bedriagae populations requires further investigation.


Publication of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica



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