The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.
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Authors: Georgia Mantziou, Nikos Poulakakis, Petros Lymber Akis, Efstratlos Valakos And Moysis Mylonas
Abstract: The genus Mauremys (Chelonia, Bataguridae) is widely distributed throughout Asia, Europe and NW Africa. Three species ( Mauremys caspica, Mauremys rivulata and Mauremys leprosa) are discontinuously distributed around the Mediterranean region. Present distributions are much smaller than those documented with in the fossil record of Mauremys in the Mediterranean region. All three extant species are identified on the basis of morphology. In the present study we compare partial mitochondrial DNA sequences of cyt-b from J 6 populations of Mauremys rivulata from Greece, one from Jordan (M. rivulata), two from Syria (M. caspica) and one from Morocco (M. leprosa). Comparison of cyt-b partial sequences supports the monophyly of the three species considered, as well as their proposed taxonomic statu s ( i .e. separation at the species level). Mauremys leprosa is the most differentiated of the three, M. caspica and M. rivulata being more closely related. Climatic changes during the Pleistocene influenced the distribution of M. rivulata and resulted in a latitudinal oscillation of the populations in a north - south direction in Greece, and consequently in a mixing of their genetic material. This hypothesis is confirmed by the absence of correlation between genetic distances and geographical origin oft he specimens studied.
Keywords: Aegean region, cytochrome b, Mediterranean, phylogeography