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Morphological and genetic variations of Ommatotriton in Turkey

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

The classification of European newts has fluctuated throughout history based on morphological and genetic discoveries. In this study, specimens of Ommatotriton from Turkey were compared by using morphometrical features and partial mitochondrial sequences data. When we used the TCS program, 15 haplotypes were found for a 541 bp fragment of the 16S rRNA gene in 118 specimens, while 25 haplotypes were found for a 398 bp fragment of the cytb gene in 112 specimens. The sequence divergence of 16S rRNA gene ranged from 0.18% to 5.70% while for cytb gene it ranged from 0.25% to 12.84%. Combined sequences showed that newts collected in three distinct geographical areas of Turkey (Southern Anatolia, Western Black Sea and Eastern Black Sea) form four distinct lineages (Hatay, Adana-Mersin, Western Black Sea and Eastern Black Sea). A total of 195 adult specimens (94 males and 101 females) from 20 different populations belonging to the three distinct geographic areas were used in the morphometrical comparisons. Canonical Variate Analysis demonstrated that the four groups were successfully separated and formed geographically homogeneous groups in the canonical space. As a conclusion, our molecular data suggest that individuals from Western Black Sea are not conspecific with Eastern Black Sea ones and they could represent a good species (Ommatotriton nesterovi). Finally, we suggest that three distinct species, O. nesterovi, O. ophryticus and O. vittatus should be recognised as banded newts of Turkey.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080 Trabzon, Turkey


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