n African Zoology - Are melanistic populations of the Karoo girdled lizard, , relics or ecotypes? A molecular investigation : research article

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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It has been proposed that melanism in cordylids evolved in response to a single climatic event and that melanistic populations of are relictual. This study investigates the genetic relationships of melanistic and non-melanistic populations of along the west coast of South Africa. Thirty-five specimens of were collected from three 'melanistic' and eight 'non-melanistic' sample localities. Partial sequence data were derived for two mitochondrial DNA loci (16S rRNA and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase component 2 (ND2)) and analysed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference. In addition, a haplotype network was constructed using TCS and an analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) was conducted. The derived topologies were highly congruent and showed that melanistic and non-melanistic populations were interdigitated on all tree topologies and a number of haplotypes were shared between melanistic and non-melanistic specimens. These results suggest that melanistic populations of are ecotypes, not relics.

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