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Molecular Relationships among Iberian, Moroccan, and South African Lacertid Lizards (Reptilia: Lacertidae)

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Relationships among representatives of five genera of lacertid lizards from Iberia, Morocco, and South Africa were studied using quantitative micro-complement fixation analysis of serum albumin evolution. Using the albumin molecular clock to establish divergence times we suggest (1) South African Ichnotropis and North African Psammodromus diverged from the lineage representing Lacerta lepida-L. monticola during the Oligocene, (2) South African Pedioplanis and Heliobolus diverged from this lineage during the late Miocene, and (3) ancestral representatives of L. andreanszkyi, L. perspicillata and Podarcis hispanica diverged from lineages leading to L. monticola and L. lepida during the mid-Miocene. Radiation within the Palearctic Lacertidae has clearly been extensive, yet fewer than twenty percent of the species in this radiation have been examined biochemically. Until additional data can be gathered, the current classification of the Palearctic Lacertidae cannot be much improved and we recommend adherence to the taxonomy proposed by Arnold (1973).

Affiliations: 1: Department of Genetics and Development, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Urbana, Illinois 61801 U.S.A.


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