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Phylogeography of grass snakes (Natrix natrix) all around the Baltic Sea: implications for the Holocene colonization of Fennoscandia

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We show that Fennoscandia was invaded in the Holocene by three distinct mitochondrial lineages of Natrix natrix. Two of these lineages arrived from the south, and one from the east. One of the ‘southern lineages’ is confined to Gotland, where also the second ‘southern lineage’ is found. The latter is widely distributed in the southwestern Baltic region, western Fennoscandia and on the Åland Islands, while the other lineage present on Gotland is only known from a few sites in the Baltic region. In addition, we recorded a third mitochondrial lineage in southern continental Finland, which was previously unknown from Fennoscandia. This lineage also occurs in the southeastern Baltic region and further east, suggesting that southern Finland was colonized from the east. Thus, the phylogeography of N. natrix matches a general paradigm for Fennoscandia, with Holocene invasions from the south and east.

Affiliations: 1: 1Museum of Zoology (Museum für Tierkunde), Senckenberg Dresden, A.B. Meyer Building, D-01109 Dresden, Germany; 2: 2Irisvej 8, DK-4600 Køge, Denmark

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/content/journals/10.1163/15685381-00002962
2014-11-21
2017-11-21

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