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Unexpectedly low mitochondrial DNA variation within the ladder snake Rhinechis scalaris

Author(s): Valeria NULCHIS | Marta BIAGGINI | Miguel A. CARRETERO | D. James HARRIS

Journal: North-Western Journal of Zoology
ISSN 1584-9074

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 119;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: Rhinechis scalaris | ytochrome b | mitochondrial DNA | phylogeography | Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula, as an important glacial refugia for much fauna and flora, is a well known biodiversity hotspot. Of the studied herpetofauna almost all species that are not recent colonizers of the area show extensive intraspecific genetic variation, often at a level that has implied cryptic speciation. In this study variation within the ladder snake, Rhinechis scalaris, essentially an Iberian endemic, was examined using cytochrome b mitochondrial DNA sequences. Surprisingly no variation across the species range was found. This is an extremely unusual situation, that deserves further investigation into the causes of the low variation.
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