Šunje, E., A. Zuazu Bermejo, R. Van Damme, T. Backeljau, N. Pojskić, L. Lukić Bilela & B. Kalamujić Stroil

In Issues 2021

Genetic diversity and differentiation of alpine salamanders from the Dinarides – an evolutionary perspective with insights for species conservation. pp. 75-88 plus Supplementary documents

Abstract. The fragmented population of alpine salamanders from the Dinaric Alps belongs to a distinct evolutionary lineage known as Salamandra atra prenjensis. However, the phylogenetic relationships within this lineage are unknown since previous studies did not comprehensively include Dinaric population fragments. In this study, we use six microsatellite loci and two mtDNA markers to examine the evolutionary relationships and genetic structure in several isolated fragments of alpine salamanders that are well spread along the Dinarides. We discovered that during Pleistocene glaciations, S. atra persisted in at least two Dinaric refugia: an old one in the Prenj mountain, and a more recent one in Gorski Kotar, whereas there is evidence of colonization for the populations of the Čvrsnica and Prokletije mountains. The results revealed that mountain Prenj was probably the main diversification center of alpine salamanders in the Dinarides. In addition, to provide a state-of-the-art review of the evolutionary history of the species, we also included available sequences of S. atra from the entire distribution range; we discuss the results from a conservation perspective.

Key words. Amphibia, Caudata, Salamandridae, Pleistocene, Balkan Peninsula, dispersal routes, refugia, lineage conservation.

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