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Eastern Mediterranean chameleons (Chamaeleo chamaeleon, Ch. africanus) are distinct

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Based on mitochondrial 16S rRNA sequences, we suggest that the founder individuals of the introduced Greek population of Chamaeleo africanus originated in the Nile Delta region of Egypt. In Ch. chamaeleon, we discovered in the eastern Mediterranean new 16S rRNA haplotypes, being highly distinct from previously published western Mediterranean haplotypes. Eastern Mediterranean haplotypes were found in samples from northern Syria, Cyprus, Crete, Samos, Malta and Tunisia. The occurrence of an eastern Mediterranean haplotype in Tunisia and of distinct haplotypes in Morocco could argue for a phylogeographic break in northwestern Africa.

Affiliations: 1: The Goulandris Natural History Museum, 100 Othonos St., GR-145 62 Kifissia, Greece; 2: Museum of Zoology, Natural History State Collections Dresden, A.B. Meyer Building, D-01109 Dresden, Germany


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