Phylogeography and Systematics of Lacerta agilis Based on Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Gene Sequences: First Results

S. A. Kalyabina, K. D. Milto, N. B. Ananjeva, L. Legal, U. Joger, M. Wink


The phylogeny and phylogeography of Lacerta agilis was inferred from the nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Lacerta agilis (Sauria: Lacertidae) is a widespread species composed of several described subspecies. Fifty specimens of Lacerta agilis were studied from different locations throughout the distribution range. Two species, Lacerta media and Lacerta praticola were used as outgroup taxa. Within Lacerta agilis three genetically distinct groups were found. The first monophyletic group (morphologically treated as L. a. brevicaudata and L. a. exigua subspecies) includes specimens from a large part of European Russia, Caucasus, and Kazakhstan. The second monophyletic group comprises two subgroups of L. a. agilis specimens from Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic and L. a. chersonensis from Northwest Russia. Specimens of L. a. boemica from Northern Caucasus form the separate group, which appears to be genetically distinct from other groups of Lacerta agilis. Some hypotheses on the history of the distribution of Lacerta agilis are proposed considering the molecular data.


lizards; Lacertidae; Lacerta agilis; phylogeography; systematics; mitochondrial DNA; cytochrome b

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