The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 04. Population genetic structure of the endangered yellow spotted mountain newt (Neurergus derjugini: Amphibia, Caudata) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences

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https://doi.org/10.33256/hj29.1.3747

pp. 37-47

Authors: Tayebe Salehi, Vahid Akmali & Mozafar Sharifi

Abstract: The yellow spotted mountain newt (Neurergus derjugini) is a critically endangered species restricted to fragmented habitats in highland streams of the middle Zagros Mountain in Iran and Iraq. We examined the species phylogeography by investigating sequences of a mitochondrial fragment of the ND2 gene for 77 individuals from 15 locations throughout the species known distribution. We found relatively high haplotype diversity (0.82 ± 0.025) but low nucleotide diversity (0.0038 ± 0.00022) across all populations. Phylogenetic trees supported monophyly, and the segregation of haplotypes was concordant with the haplotype network. We found a significant correlation between geographical and genetic distances among populations (r = 0.54, P ˂ 0.01), suggesting restricted gene flow. Molecular dating suggested that haplogroups diverged during the early or middle Pleistocene. Bayesian skyline plot provided evidence for an expansion of populations during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition period. Taken together, isolation by distance due to low dispersal capability, habitat fragmentation, and historical factors have shaped the current population structure of N. derjugini.

Key words: phylogeography, endangered species, demography, evolutionary history, climate oscillation, conservation.

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