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Phylogeographic patterns of Buthus scorpions (Scorpiones: Buthidae) in the Maghreb and South-Western Europe based on CO1 mtDNA sequences

Authors

  • P. Sousa,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
    • CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Vila do Conde, Portugal
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  • D. J. Harris,

    1. CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Vila do Conde, Portugal
    2. Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal
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  • E. Froufe,

    1. CIIMAR, Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Rua dos Bragas, Porto, Portugal
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  • A. van der Meijden

    1. CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Universidade do Porto, Vila do Conde, Portugal
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Correspondence

Pedro Sousa, CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas, 7 – Crasto, Vairão 4485-661, Portugal.

Email: prsousa@gmail.com

Abstract

The genus Buthus is a medium diverse scorpion genus, with 35 species distributed from Portugal and Morocco ranging eastward to Yemen in the Arabic Peninsula. The bulk of the genus' known species diversity occurs in the Western Mediterranean area. A recent molecular study started to elucidate the patterns of diversity of this genus in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb. Since then, the taxonomy of the genus has changed substantially, with several new species having been described, and with the elevation of former subspecies to species-level. In this study, we assessed the patterns of diversity of Buthus scorpions from across the Maghreb region of North Africa using CO1 DNA sequence data. Based on our dataset of 147 sequences, including 67 new sequences, we recovered four well-supported deep clades within Buthus scorpions from the Maghreb and Southern Europe. This further strengthens the support for cryptic diversity in the Maghreb region. The broader sampling of the Maghreb permitted a better understanding of the phylogeographic structure in this area. Three clades were restricted to Morocco and appear to have originated at the Atlantic Coast of this country, while the fourth was found throughout the region. We propose a model with two colonizing events to explain the distribution patterns across the Strait of Gibraltar, with an initial colonization from North Africa to Iberia followed by a reinvasion of the Rif Mountains region in Morocco.

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