Granollers, Spain
Granollers, Spain

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Lansari A.,Cadi Ayyad University | Hugemann K.,TU Braunschweig | Hauswaldt J.S.,TU Braunschweig | Donaire D.,Asociacion Herpetologica Fretum Gaditanum | And 16 more authors.
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2014

Painted frogs (Discoglossus) contain five to six species of Western Palearctic anurans that are mainly distributed in allopatry. We here provide the first comprehensive assessment of the phylogeography of the Moroccan species D. scovazzi and geographically characterize its contact zone with D. pictus in Eastern Morocco. Discoglossus scovazzi shows, in general, a weak phylogeographic structure across Morocco on the basis of mitochondrial DNA sequences of the cytochrome b gene, with only populations centered in the Atlas Mountains characterized by the presence of slightly divergent haplotypes. In eastern Morocco, all populations east of the Moulouya River were clearly assignable to D. pictus. This species was also found along the Mediterranean coast west of the Moulouya, in the cities of Nador and Melilla, suggesting that not the river itself but the wide arid valley extending along much of the river (except close to the estuary) acts as a possible distributional barrier to these frogs. No sympatry of D. scovazzi with D. pictus was observed, and all specimens were concordantly assigned to either species by DNA sequences of cytochrome b and of the nuclear marker RAG1. Species distribution models of the two taxa show largely overlapping areas of suitable habitat, and the two species' niches are significantly more similar than would be expected given the underlying environmental differences between the regions in which they occur. Comparative data are also presented from the southern Iberian contact zone of D. galganoi galganoi and D. g. jeanneae. These taxa showed less clear-cut distributional borders, extensively shared RAG1 haplotypes, and had instances of sympatric occurrence on the basis of cytochrome b haplotypes, in agreement with the hypothesis of a yet incomplete speciation. In this wide contact zone area we found mitochondrial sequences containing double peaks in electropherograms, suggesting nuclear pseudogenes or (less likely) heteroplasmy, possibly related to the ongoing admixture among the lineages. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2014.


Badiane A.,University Pompeu Fabra | Garcia-Porta J.,University Pompeu Fabra | Cervenka J.,Charles University | Kratochvil L.,Charles University | And 13 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2014

A molecular phylogeny of the sphaerodactylid geckos of the genus Pristurus is inferred based on an alignment of 1845 base pairs (bp) of concatenated mitochondrial (12S) and nuclear (acm4, cmos, rag1 and rag2) genes for 80 individuals, representing 18 of the 23-26 species, and the three subspecies of P. rupestris. The results indicate that P. rupestris is poly-phyletic and includes two highly divergent clades: the eastern clade, found in coastal Iran and throughout the Hajar Moun-tain range in northern Oman and eastern UAE; and the western clade, distributed from central coastal Oman, through Yemen, Saudi Arabia and north to southern Jordan. Inferred haplotype networks for the four nuclear genes show that the eastern and western clades of "P. rupestris" are highly differentiated and do not share any alleles. Moreover, although the two clades are differentiated by a morphological multivariate analysis, no one character or set of characters was found to be diagnostic. Based on the molecular analysis of specimens from the type locality of P. rupestris rupestris, the name P. rupestris is applied to the eastern clade. The name that should apply to the western clade cannot be clarified until morpho-logical and genetic data for "P. rupestris" is available from the vicinity of Bosaso, Somalia, and therefore we refer to it as Pristurus sp. 1. The phylogenetic tree of Pristurus supports the hypothesis that P. celerrimus is sister to all the other spe-cies in the analyses and that the Socotra Archipelago was independently colonized a minimum of two times. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.


de Pous P.,University Pompeu Fabra | de Pous P.,University of Lleida | Simo-Riudalbas M.,University Pompeu Fabra | Els J.,Breeding Center for Endangered Arabian Wildlife | And 3 more authors.
Zoology in the Middle East | Year: 2016

The Persian Horned Viper (Pseudocerastes persicus) is distributed from northeast Iraq through the Iranian Plateau to western Pakistan with isolated populations in the Hajar Mountains of south-eastern Arabia. Like the other members of the genus Pseudocerastes, P. persicus is a sit-and-wait ambush feeder with low vagility, a characteristic that often results in high levels of population differentiation. In order to clarify the level of genetic variability, phylogenetic relationships, and biogeography of the Arabian populations of P. persicus we sequenced 597 base pairs of the mitochondrial cytochrome b of four individuals from the Hajar Mountains in south-eastern Arabia and inferred their phylogenetic relationships including 10 samples of P. persicus from Iran and Pakistan, four P. urarachnoides and one P. fieldi downloaded from GenBank. The four Arabian samples are genetically very similar in the gene fragment analysed and are phylogenetically very closely related to populations of P. persicus from coastal south Iran. Biogeographically, it appears that colonisation of the Hajar Mountains by P. persicus took place from Iran very recently, most probably during the last glaciation, when most of the Persian Gulf was above sea level and did not represent a barrier for dispersal. © 2016 Taylor & Francis


Martinez-Silvestre A.,Catalonia Reptile and Amphibian Rehabilitation Center | Amat F.,Area dHerpetologia | Bargallo F.,Zoologic | Carranza S.,Institute of Evolutionary Biology CSIC UPF
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2011

We report the presence of pigmented skin tumors in three populations of the endangered amphibian Montseny brook newt, Calotriton arnoldi, one of the European amphibian species with the smallest distribution range (40 km2 in the Montseny Natural Park, Catalonia, Spain). Examination of one of the tumors by light microscopy was consistent with chromatophoroma and was most suggestive of a melanophoroma. Tumors were not found in juveniles. In adults, only two of three populations were affected. The proportions of males and females affected were not significantly different, but there was a positive correlation between body size and presence of tumors in both sexes. The etiology of chromatophoromas remains unknown but, in our study, they do not appear to have been caused by water quality or Ultraviolet B. © Wildlife Disease Association 2011.


Romano A.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Amat F.,Area dHerpetologia | Rivera X.,Societat Catalana dHerpetologia Museu de Zoologia | Sotgiu G.,No profit Naturalistic Association Zirichiltaggi Sardinia Wildlife Conservation | Carranza S.,Institute Of Biologia Evolutiva Csic Upf
Acta Herpetologica | Year: 2010

Caudal autotomy is a defensive mechanism widely adopted by lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae) from the New World. In contrast, in Europe, this mechanism was not described until very recently for just one Sardinian species, Hydroman-tes (Speleomantes) sarrabusensis. We report on tail autotomy observed in another species from the same island, Hydromantes (Atylodes) genei. In Europe, self-amputation of the tail seems to be restricted to some plethodontids inhabiting Sardinia, while continental species do not exhibit analogous antipredator strategies. © Firenze University Press.


Carranza S.,Area dHerpetologia | Oromi N.,University of Lleida | Oromi N.,University of Liège | Amat F.,University of Lleida | Sanuy D.,University Pompeu Fabra
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2015

Patterns of sexual dimorphism and age structure were investigated in two populations of the newt Calotriton arnoldi, endemic of the Montseny Massif (NE of the Iberian Peninsula). In contrast to the Pyrenean newt (Calotriton asper) sexual dimorphism in the Montseny brook newt is characterized by slightly larger females (60.3 ± 0.3 mm; maximum: 68 mm) than males (59.5 ± 0.2 mm; maximum: 64 mm) and more similar body shape between sexes. Both populations and sexes mature at the same age (3 years), show the same age structure and achieve similar longevity (8-9 years). Comparing our results with the framework of the variation of life-history traits in Calotriton, the Montseny newts exhibit fast sexual maturity and short longevity. Curiously, we have found a lack of covariation between age at sexual maturity, longevity and total body size in the populations of Calotriton species. Only in males, age at sexual maturity seems to be affected by altitude, but in an unexpected way: sexual maturation is delayed in populations at low altitudes. Moreover, the age at sexual maturity does not differs between the populations where immatures are terrestrial vs. those where they remain aquatic. Our results suggest that life-history traits in Calotriton newts could be determined by selective factors that play their role at small geographic scale. © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.


de Pous P.,University of Lleida | de Pous P.,University Pompeu Fabra | Montori A.,University of Barcelona | Amat F.,Area dHerpetologia | Sanuy D.,University of Lleida
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Many studies have identified climate warming to be among the most important threats to biodiversity. Climate change is expected to have stronger effects on species with low genetic diversity, ectothermic physiology, small ranges, low effective populations sizes, specific habitat requirements and limited dispersal capabilities. Despite an ever-increasing number of studies reporting climate change-induced range shifts, few of these have incorporated species’ specific dispersal constraints into their models. Moreover, the impacts of climate change on genetic variation within populations and species have rarely been assessed, while this is a promising direction for future research. Here we explore the effects of climate change on the potential distribution and genetic variation of the endemic Pyrenean newt Calotriton asper over the period 2020–2080. We use species distribution modelling in combination with high-resolution gridded climate data while subsequently applying four different dispersal scenarios. We furthermore use published data on genetic variation of both mtDNA and AFLP loci to test whether populations with high genetic diversity (nucleotide diversity and expected heterozygosity) or evolutionary history (unique haplotypes and K clusters) have an increased extinction risk from climate change. The present study indicates that climate change drastically reduces the potential distribution range of C. asper and reveals dispersal possibilities to be minimal under the most realistic dispersal scenarios. Despite the major loss in suitable climate, the models highlight relatively large stable areas throughout the species core distribution area indicating persistence of populations over time. The results, however, show a major loss of genetic diversity and evolutionary history. This highlights the importance of accounting for intraspecific genetic variation in climate change impact studies. Likewise, the integration of species’ specific dispersal constraints into projections of species distribution models is an important step to fully explore the effects of climate change on species potential distributions. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Oromi N.,University of Lleida | Amat F.,Area dHerpetologia | Sanuy D.,University of Lleida | Carranza S.,University Pompeu Fabra
Amphibia Reptilia | Year: 2014

The Pyrenean brook newt (Calotriton asper) is a salamandrid that mostly lives in fast running and cold mountainstreams, although some populations are also found in lakes. In the present work, we report in detail on the occurrence of facultative paedomorphosis traits in a population from a Pyrenean high altitude lake.We compare its morphology, life history traits and mitochondrial DNA variation with a nearby lotic metamorphic population. Our results indicate that the lacustrine newts are smaller and present a less developed sexual dimorphism, smooth skin, and that 53% of the adults retain gills at different degrees of development, but not gill slits. Although both populations and sexes have the same age at sexual maturity (four years), the lacustrine population presents higher longevity (12 and 9 years for males and females, respectively) than the one living in the stream (8 and 9 years). The variation on the climatic conditions at altitudinal scale is probably the main cause of the differences in life history traits found between the two populations. The food availability, which could to be limiting in the lacustrine population, is another factor that can potentially affect body size. These results are congruent with the significant mitochondrial DNA genetic isolation between populations, probably a consequence of the lack of juvenile dispersal.We found low cytochrome b variability and significant genetic structuring in the lake population that is very remarkably considering the short distance to the nearby stream population and the whole species' pattern. We suggest that a bottleneck effect and/or phenotypic plasticity may have resulted in the appearance of a paedomorphic morph in the lake. © 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

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