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Keywords:

  • Lacerta;
  • Archaeolacerta;
  • phylogeny;
  • Caucasus Mountains;
  • cytochrome A-ATPase 6-hybridization

A maximum parsimony phylogeny of 14 Caucasian species of rock lizards, genus Ijicerta, subgenus Archaeolacerta, was constructed from mitochondrial cytochrome b and ATPase 6 partial gene sequences. Congruence analyses were carried out between the two genes. A synthesis of the data sets reveals three well supported monophyletic groups: (1) the caucasica group including (Lacerta derjugini ((Lalpina, L. clarkorum) (L. caucasica, L. daghestanica))); (2) the rudis group including (L. parvula (L. portschinskii (L. vakntini, L. rudis))); and (3) the saxicola group including (L. mixta (L. nairensis (L. saxicola, L. raddeijj). Despite the diagnosis of three groups, the placement of L. praticola as a basal taxon is uncertain, as are the relationships among the three groups. The mitochondrial DNA sequence data suggested prior hybridization between L. mixta and L. alpina and possibly between L. saxicola and L. nairensis. Lacerta raddei was resolved as a paraphyletic species on the mtDNA tree; this may result from either hybridization or random gene sorting.