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Phylogeography of bleaks Alburnus spp. (Cyprinidae) in Italy, based on cytochrome b data

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Sequence variation of a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA encoding for the cytochrome b gene was used to reconstruct the phylogeography of the two species of bleaks occurring in Italy: the alborella Alburnus arborella in northern Italy and the vulturino Alburnus albidus in southern Italy. The study includes four populations of the alborella and 14 populations of the vulturino. A total of 57 haplotypes were identified; these could not be sorted into two reciprocally monophyletic clusters. Multiple phylogenetic methods and nested clade phylogeographical analysis consistently retrieved three well-supported clades, two of which contained both Northern and Southern Italian haplotypes. A third clade is limited to southern Italy. This clade is tentatively assigned to the vulturino. The placement in the same clade of northern and southern Italian haplotypes is explained in light of the introductions of fishes operated from northern to central and southern Italy. The origin of the vulturino dates back to the last two million years. This divergence time estimate identifies the Pleistocene confluences between adjacent river basins along the Adriatic slope of the Italian peninsula and their subsequent isolation as the cause that triggered the diversification of the genus in the area. The existence of a clade endemic to southern Italy supports the recognition of the area as a new peri-Mediterranean ichthyogeographic district, the borders of which correspond to the northern and southern edges of the vulturino range.
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Keywords: Alburnus; Cyprinidae; Italian peninsula; mitochondrial DNA; phylogeography

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Naples, via Mezzocannone 8, I-80134 Naples, Italy 2: University Hospital, University of Bern, Inselspital, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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