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The changing views on the evolutionary relationships of extant Salamandridae (Amphibia: Urodela)

  • The phylogenetic relationships among members of the family Salamandridae have been repeatedly investigated over the last 90 years, with changing character and taxon sampling. We review the changing composition and the phylogenetic position of salamandrid genera and species groups and add a new phylogeny based exclusively on sequences of nuclear genes. Salamandrina often changed its position depending on the characters used. It was included several times in a clade together with the primitive newts (Echinotriton, Pleurodeles, Tylototriton) due to their seemingly ancestral morphology. The latter were often inferred as a monophyletic clade. Respective monophyly was almost consistently established in all molecular studies for true salamanders (Chioglossa, Lyciasalamandra, Mertensiella, Salamandra), modern Asian newts (Cynops, Laotriton, Pachytriton, Paramesotriton) and modern New World newts (Notophthalmus, Taricha). Reciprocal non-monophyly has been established through molecular studies for the European mountain newts (Calotriton, Euproctus) and the modern European newts (Ichthyosaura, Lissotriton, Neurergus, Ommatotriton, Triturus) since Calotriton was identified as the sister lineage of Triturus. In pre-molecular studies, their respective monophyly had almost always been assumed, mainly because a complex courtship behaviour shared by their respective members. Our nuclear tree is nearly identical to a mito-genomic tree, with all but one node being highly supported. The major difference concerns the position of Calotriton, which is no longer nested within the modern European newts. This has implications for the evolution of courtship behaviour of European newts. Within modern European newts, Ichthyosaura and Lissotriton changed their position compared to the mito-genomic tree. Previous molecular trees based on seemingly large nuclear data sets, but analysed together with mitochondrial data, did not reveal monophyly of modern European newts since taxon sampling and nuclear gene coverage was too poor to obtain conclusive results. We therefore conclude that mitochondrial and nuclear data should be analysed on their own.

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Author:Michael Veith, Bogaerts Sergé, Frank Pasmans, Sarah Kieren
Parent Title (English):PLoS ONE
Editor:Michael Schubert
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2018/08/01
Date of publication:2018/08/01
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universität Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2018/11/28
Tag:DNA isolation; Mitochondria; Paleogenetics; Phylogenetic analysis; Salamanders
GND Keyword:Phylogenie; Salamander
Source:PLoS ONE 13 (2018)
Institutes:Fachbereich 6
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 56 Fossilien, Paläontologie
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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