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Phylogeography of Iurus dufoureius (Brullé, 1832) (Scorpiones, Iuridae)

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Abstract Aim 

This study uses molecular data in conjunction with palaeogeography to infer the most plausible biogeographical scenario accounting for the current distributional pattern of Iurus dufoureius. Location 

North-eastern Mediterranean region. Methods 

Sequencing of a 441-bp segment of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene in seven populations covering the whole distributional range of the species. Phylogenetic analyses performed included neighbour joining, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference. Results 

The molecular phylogeny showed that two Iurus clades are strongly supported. These clades correspond to the two subspecies Iurus dufoureius dufoureius and Iurus dufoureius asiaticus, currently recognized within the genus. The assumption of a clock-like evolution could not be rejected, and this enabled us to estimate an approximation of the local rate of evolution for the I. dufoureius lineages. Based on the estimated evolutionary rate (0.79 ± 0.17 Myr−1), the split between the two Iurus clades occurred c. 8 Ma. Main conclusions 

Contrary to what was believed in the past, the genus Iurus is an old north-eastern Mediterranean genus that has been differentiating in southern Greece and south-west Turkey at least from the middle Miocene. According to the phylogenetic trees obtained and the dating of the divergence times of lineages, the genus dispersed into the Aegean Archipelago when the Aegean was still a uniform land mass. Although the phylogenetic relationships of I. d. dufoureius populations have been shaped by the most recent vicariant events, the phylogenetic relationships of I. d. asiaticus populations are mostly attributable to older palaeoevents occurring in the area.
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Keywords: Evolutionary route; Iurus; mtDNA; north-eastern Mediterranean; scorpions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-02-01

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