Molecular phylogenetics and historical biogeography among salamandrids of the "true" salamander clade: Rapid branching of numerous highly divergent lineages in Mertensiella luschani associated with the rise of Anatolia

David W. Weisrock, J. Robert Macey, Ismail H. Ugurtas, Allan Larson, Theodore J. Papenfuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phylogenetic relationships among salamandrids of the "true" salamander clade are investigated using 2019 aligned base positions (713 parsimony informative) of 20 mitochondrial DNA sequences from the genes encoding ND1 (subunit one of NADH dehydrogenase), tRNAIle, tRNAGln, tRNAMet, ND2, tRNATrp, tRNAAla, tRNAAsn, tRNACys, tRNATyr, and COI (subunit I of cytochrome c oxidase), plus the origin for light-strand replication (OL) between the tRNAAsn and the tRNACys genes. Parsimony analysis produces a robust phylogenetic estimate for the relationships of the major groups of "true" salamanders. Strong support is provided for the sister taxon relationship of Chioglossa and Mertensiella caucasica and for the placement of Salamandra and Mertensiella luschani as sister taxa. These relationships suggest two vicariant events between Europe and Anatolia caused by the formation of seaways in the Mediterranean Basin. Molecular divergence indicates an Early Miocene separation of Chioglossa and M. caucasica and a Late Miocene separation of Salamandra and M. luschani. The traditional phylogenetic hypothesis of a monophyletic Mertensiella is statistically rejected, indicating that southwestern and northeastern Anatolian populations have separate historical biogeographic origins. Therefore, we recommend placement of M. luschani in the genus Salamandra. Within M. luschani, six highly divergent lineages showing 7.6 to 10.1% pairwise sequence divergence are identified. Tests using four-taxon subsamples suggest that these lineages diverged nearly simultaneously in the Late Miocene, approximately 6 to 8 million years ago, when extensive uplifting of Anatolia occurred in response to the Arabian collision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-448
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Amphibia
  • Biogeography
  • Caudata
  • Chiglossa
  • Mertensiella
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Phylogenetics
  • Salamandra
  • Salamandridae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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