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Taxonomy of the banded newt, Triturus vittatus: morphological and allozyme data

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We studied the number of rib-bearing vertebrae, eight morphometric characters and 36 protein loci in three subspecies of the banded newt, Triturus vittatus from the Near and Middle East. The number of rib-bearing vertebrae ranged from 12 to 15. Modal count was 13 in T. v. cilicensis, T. v. vittatus and T. v. ophryticus in the western part of the range and 14 in the eastern part of the T. v. ophryticus range. Significant differences were found between groups (cilicensis plus vittatus, western ophryticus, eastern ophryticus). Significant differences in shape were observed comparing T. vittatus with T. karelinii and T. montandoni, but not among T. v. vittatus, T. v. cilicensis and T. v. ophryticus. Genetic differentiation within T. v. ophryticus reached DNei = 0.24, which was similar to the distance observed between T. v. vittatus and T. v. cilicensis (DNei = 0.18). The two groups clustered at DNei = 0.58. We discuss the question whether T. v. ophryticus should be raised to species level.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, CECA/ICETA/UP, Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4480 Vila do Conde, Portugal; 2: Campus Agrário de Vairão, 4480 Vila do Conde, Portugal 2 Adnan Menderes Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Biyoloji Bölümü, 09010 Aydin, Turkey


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