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Allozyme variation in populations of Lacerta raddei and Lacerta nairensis (Sauria: Lacertidae) from Armenia

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Lacertca raddei and Lacerta nairensis have been recognized as two separate species based on morphology and behavior, and each has been implicated as a sexual parent of different parthenogenetic forms. However, recent mitochondrial DNA work failed to distinguish these two as separate species. We examined genetic diversity at 36 allozyme loci from six populations of L. nairensis and four populations of L. raddei. There were no fixed allelic differences between the two. Mean heterozygosity was slightly higher among populations of L. raddei than among populations of L. nairensis. A Distance Wagner phenogram showed that the northernmost population of L. raddei clustered with the L. nairensis populations; the other L. raddei populations clustered together. We suggest that L. raddei and L. nairensis may not be separate species, a finding which has important implications for determining the origins of some parthenogenetic Lacerta.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C6, Email:; 2: Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg 119034, Russia; 3: Faculty of Biology, Yerevan State University, 375000 Yerevan, Armenia


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