Complex estimates of evolutionary relationships in Tarentola mauritanica (Reptilia: Gekkonidae) derived from mitochondrial DNA sequences.

Original article


Harris DJ, Batista V, Lymberakis P, Carretero MA.

Centro de Investigacao em Biodiversidade e Recursos Geneticos, ICETA, Campus Agrario de Vairao, 4485-661 Vila do Conde, Portugal.

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Mar;30(3):855-9.


Mitochondrial DNA (12S rRNA, 16S rRNA) sequences were analysed within Tarentola mauritanica and other selected species of Tarentola. Several highly genetically distinct lineages occur in North Africa, revealing phylogroups in southern and central Morocco, northern Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. A single haplotype characterizes populations across Spain, Portugal, Italy, Menorca, Crete, and Tunisia raising the possibility of an anthropogenic introduction followed by rapid population expansion throughout southern Europe. T. mauritanica is paraphyletic with respect to T. angustimentalis, a Canary islands endemic. The high genetic diversity observed across North Africa suggests T. mauritanica may represent a species complex.

Keywords: 12S rRNA; 16S rRNA; Tarentola mauritanica; Phylogeny