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Keywords:

  • Molecular phylogeny;
  • geographic variation mtDNA;
  • Canary Island lizards

The mitochondrial DNA evolution of the western Canary Island lacertid, Galloti galloti, was studied using six restriction enzymes (Hae III, Mva I, Hin fl, Taq I, Msp I and Dsa V). The population phytogeny (G. stehlini, from the adjacent island of Gran Canada, was used as an outgroup) based on 56 restriction fragments from the first two enzymes indicates two distinct lineages; a ‘northern’ lineage of La Palma, north Tenerife and south Tenerife populations and a ‘southern’ lineage of populations from Gomera and Hierro. The relationships within the northern lineage are also supported by an additional analysis of 132 restriction fragments from the remaining four enzymes. This molecular phylogeny argues for the recognition of two subspecies corresponding to the two main lineages and against the recognition of the six current subspecies which are based on inadequate ‘conventional’ criteria.