Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the wall-lizard Podarcis erhardii (Squamata: Lacertidae)

TitleMolecular phylogeny and biogeography of the wall-lizard Podarcis erhardii (Squamata: Lacertidae)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsPoulakakis, N, Lymberakis P, Antoniou A, Chalkia D, Zouros E, Mylonas M, Valakos E
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

Erhard’s wall lizard, Podarcis erhardii (Sauria: Lacertidae), is highly diversified in Greece and especially in the southern Aegean region. Out of the 28 recognized subspecies, 27 are found in Greece from the North Sporades island-complex in the North Aegean (grossly south of the 39th parallel) to the island of Crete in the South. The species exhibits great morphological and ecological plasticity and inhabits many different habitats from rocky islets and sandy shores to mountaintops as high as 2000 m. By examining intraspecific variability at a segment of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b we have found that that extant populations of P. erhardii are paraphyletic. Furthermore, we have found that subspecies previously defined on the basis of morphological characteristics do not correspond to different molecular phylogenetic clades, so that their status should be reconsidered. The DNA based biogeographical and phylogenetic history of Podarcis in Southern Greece is congruent with available paleogeographic data of the region, which supports the view that DNA sequences may be a useful tool for the study of palaeogeography.


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