Patterns of differentiation in morphology, mitochondrial DNA and allozymes in amphibians and reptiles inhabiting northern and southern shores of the Strait of Gibraltar are not concordant, suggesting that each taxon was affected differently by events preceding or following the formation of the Strait of Gibraltar. Mitochondrial DNA and allozyme differentiation between Discoglossus jeanneae and Discoglossus scovazzi (Anura, Discoglossidae), Rana perezi and Rana saharica (Anura, Ranidae), and Blanus cinereus and Blanus tingitanus (Squamata, Amphisbaenia, Amphisbaenidae) is substantial, whereas morphological differentiation is moderate in Rana and Blanus, but is substantial in Discoglossus. Differentiation in mitochondrial DNA and morphology between Timon (Lacerta) lepidus and Timon (Lacerta) tangitanus (Squamata, Lacertoidea, Lacertidae) is considerable, but allozyme differentiation is low. In members of type-I and -II Podarcis vaucheri (Squamata, Lacertoidea, Lacertidae), morphology and mitochondrial DNA are moderately differentiated, but allozyme differentiation is low. Spanish and Moroccan populations of Hyla meridionalis (Anura, Hylidae), Mauremys leprosa (Testudines, Geoemydidae), and Macroprotodon brevis (Squamata, Serpentes, Colubridae) demonstrate little allozyme and mitochondrial DNA differentiation, but whereas morphological differentiation between Mauremys and Macroprotodon populations is moderate, Hyla demonstrate substantial morphological differentiation between continental populations. These data suggest that sex-limited mitochondrial markers are reflective of ancient phylogenetic history, whereas biparentally inherited allozyme markers and morphological characteristics reflect more recent population structure and movement. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 94, 445–461.