Author(s): Fritz U, Ayaz D, Buschbom J, Kami HG, Mazanaeva LF,
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Abstract In recent years many cases of hybridization and introgression became known for chelonians, requiring a better understanding of their speciation mechanisms. Phylogeographic investigations offer basic data for this challenge. We use the sister species Mauremys caspica and M. rivulata, the most abundant terrapins in the Near and Middle East and South-east Europe, as model. Their phylogeographies provide evidence that speciation of chelonians fits the allopatric speciation model, with both species being in the parapatric phase of speciation, and that intrinsic isolation mechanisms are developed during speciation. Hybridization between M. caspica and M. rivulata is very rare, suggesting that the increasing numbers of hybrids in other species are caused by human impact on environment (breakdown of ecological isolation). Genetic differentiation within M. caspica and M. rivulata resembles the paradigm of southern genetic richness and northern purity of European biota. However, in west Asia this pattern is likely to reflect dispersal and vicariance events older than the Holocene. For M. caspica three distinct Pleistocene refuges are postulated (Central Anatolia, south coast of Caspian Sea, Gulf of Persia). Morphologically defined subspecies within M. caspica are not supported by genetic data. This is one of the few studies available about the phylogeography of west and central Asian species.
This article was published in J Evol Biol
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development