• 12S rRNA;
  • cytochrome b;
  • Podarcis hispanica;
  • Podarcis vaucheri;
  • phylogeny;
  • Strait of Gibraltar

Abstract Aim  To examine the effect of a known geological barrier on genetic variation within a wall lizard species complex.

Location  The Iberian Peninsula and North Africa.

Methods  Sequencing of partial 12S rRNA and cytochrome b mtDNA.

Results  The current distribution of genetic variability is not related to the opening of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Conclusions Podarcis hispanica in North Africa is probably a species complex. The Strait of Gibraltar should not be used as a known barrier to gene flow in other land based organisms without careful sampling to test for multiple crossings since its formation.