Genetic and Morphological Differentiation Among Caucasian Rock Lizards of the Lacerta caucasica Complex

Jinzhong Fu, Ilya S. Darevsky, Ross D. MacCulloch, Larissa A. Kupriyanova, Evgeny S. Roytberg, T. M. Sokolova, Robert W. Murphy


The genetic diversity of 34 loci was surveyed from among five populations of the supposed conspecific taxa Lacerta c. caucasica, L. c. alpina, and L. c. daghestanica. Twelve loci exhibited variation. Fixed or nearly fixed allelic differences between L. c. caucasica and L. c. daghestanica were found at two loci, mannose-6-phosphate isomerase-A and creatine kinase-C. These two taxa differed from L. c. alpina at eight loci. Nei’s (1978) genetic distance values among populations of L. c. daghestanica ranged from 0.000 – 0.029, between L. c. caucasica and L. c. daghestanica from 0.076 – 0.087 and between L. c. alpina and the other taxa from 0.472 – 0.501. Fixed allelic differences and consistent morphological character states support the recognition of these three taxa as separate species. Therefore, we recommend use of the names L. alpina, L. caucasica, and L. daghestanica for these taxa.


Reptilia; Lacertidae; Lacerta; genetics; systematics

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