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, 62 (1), 71-86

Multilocus Species Tree Analyses Resolve the Radiation of the Widespread Bufo Bufo Species Group (Anura, Bufonidae)


Multilocus Species Tree Analyses Resolve the Radiation of the Widespread Bufo Bufo Species Group (Anura, Bufonidae)

E Recuero et al. Mol Phylogenet Evol.


New analytical methods are improving our ability to reconstruct robust species trees from multilocus datasets, despite difficulties in phylogenetic reconstruction associated with recent, rapid divergence, incomplete lineage sorting and/or introgression. In this study, we applied these methods to resolve the radiation of toads in the Bufo bufo (Anura, Bufonidae) species group, ranging from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to Siberia, based on sequences from two mitochondrial and four nuclear DNA regions (3490 base pairs). We obtained a fully-resolved topology, with the recently described Bufo eichwaldi from the Talysh Mountains in south Azerbaijan and Iran as the sister taxon to a clade including: (1) north African, Iberian, and most French populations, referred herein to Bufo spinosus based on the implied inclusion of populations from its type locality and (2) a second clade, sister to B. spinosus, including two sister subclades: one with all samples of Bufo verrucosissimus from the Caucasus and another one with samples of B. bufo from northern France to Russia, including the Apennine and Balkan peninsulas and most of Anatolia. Coalescent-based estimations of time to most recent common ancestors for each species and selected subclades allowed historical reconstruction of the diversification of the species group in the context of Mediterranean paleogeography and indicated a long evolutionary history in this region. Finally, we used our data to delimit the ranges of the four species, particularly the more widespread and historically confused B. spinosus and B. bufo, and identify potential contact zones, some of which show striking parallels with other co-distributed species.

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