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Molecular characterisation of the endangered Salamandra salamandra almanzoris (Caudata, Salamandridae)
Abstract and Figures
Salamandra salamandra is a polymorphic species with seven endemic subspecies in the Iberian Peninsula. Assignment of populations to subspecies in many areas is controversial because of discrepancies between morphological or molecular datasets. One potential intermixing area includes the Sistema Central Mountains, inhabited by S. s. almanzoris, a subspecies with a restricted distribution. In order to delimit the distribution area of S. s. almanzoris, we obtained sequences of the cytochrome-b gene in 84 individuals representing 26 populations covering the potential range of this subspecies and scored variation at 33 nuclear loci in ten of these populations through allozyme electrophoresis. S. s. almanzoris is fragmented into three disjoint groups of populations in the Sierras of Gredos, Guadarrama and San Vicente. The observation of (i) discordance between mtDNA and allozymes; (ii) coexistence of divergent mtDNA haplotypes in two populations; and (iii) discordance between external morphology and mtDNA haplotypes in different populations suggests recent events of secondary contact between S. s. almanzoris and other lineages within S. salamandra in the lowlands of the Sistema Central. We discuss the implications of these findings for the management of S. s. almanzoris populations in central Spain.
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