n African Zoology - Genetic variation among spiny-footed lizards in the group from North Africa

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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The systematics of the genus was classically based on external morphological traits, osteological characters and morphology of the hemipenes. Although the identification of species complexes is relatively easy, the distinction within some groups is difficult due to a high variability of the external morphology. Partial mitochondrial (12S and 16S rRNA) sequences (371 and 499 base pairs, respectively) were analysed from 32 specimens of the group from northern Africa including the described species and . Several highly distinct genetic units were resolved, but with little support for relationships between them. These units did not coincide with current taxonomic units, but showed geographic structuring. Although the group displays significant variation, the present taxonomy of the group must be considered unsatisfactory since it is not supported by genetic evidence. For some forms, such as there is no support and it is suggested that it should be synonymized with . More data are clearly needed for other forms. Complex microevolutionary patterns due to the recent contraction / expansion phases of the Sahara Desert probably are related with the phylogenetic patterns observed.

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