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Mitochondrial sequences do not support the independent taxonomic position of the extinct Alpine newt subspecies Mesotriton alpestris lacusnigri

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Mesotriton alpestris lacusnigri is regarded as being an extinct subspecies of the Alpine newt endemic to a small fishless alpine lake called Črno jezero (Black Lake) in the Julian Alps in Slovenia. To re-assess its taxonomic position we sequenced fragments of two mitochondrial genes (309 bp of cytochrome b and 315 bp of 16S rRNA) of two museum specimens collected in 1953. Specimens of the ssp. lacusnigri yielded two new haplotypes which formed a monophyletic group within a cluster of other Slovenian and central European haplotypes of ssp. alpestis. The name lacusnigri is therefore merely a junior synonym of the nominotypical subspecies and should be removed from red data listing. Our study highlights the outstanding value of natural history collections as baselines for contemporary biodiversity assessments.

Affiliations: 1: Science and Research Centre of Koper, University of Primorska, Garibaldijeva 1, SI-6000 Koper, Slovenia;, Email:; 2: Science and Research Centre of Koper, University of Primorska, Garibaldijeva 1, SI-6000 Koper, Slovenia


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