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A survival story: evolutionary history of the Iberian Algyroides (Squamata: Lacertidae), an endemic lizard relict

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Abstract

The Iberian Algyroides (Algyroides marchi) is a lacertid lizard with one of the narrowest distribution ranges in continental Europe, restricted to a minute area in the Subbaetic mountains in SE Spain. Due to specific habitat requirements, this species is considered threatened by climate change and habitat degradation. Here, an improved and time-calibrated multilocus phylogenetic analysis, combining two mitochondrial, three nuclear markers as well as a battery of 12 microsatellite loci, was performed. Moreover, ancestral changes in effective population size were determined under Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) analysis. In parallel, past, present and future habitat suitability was inferred using Ecological Niche Models (ENMs). The diversification of A. marchi in the Iberian Peninsula began during the Upper-Pleistocene around 0.10 Mya. However, during the Last Interglacial the species had much larger suitable habitats along NE Iberia and/or the Cantabrian region. Indeed, ABC analysis indicates that not the Last Interglacial, but instead the Last Glacial Maximum led to a population bottleneck followed by a recovery/expansion. The footprint of this complex evolutionary history is reflected today in six monophyletic lineages, with little genetic differentiation and geographic coherency. This pattern most likely arises from the climatic oscillations during the Pleistocene, leading to a complete range shift and secondary contact, with very divergent haplogroups in sympatry and exchanging genes. Finally, the ENMs predict a considerable future retraction and shift in the area suitable for the species, which should be taken into account for conservation policies.

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Data availability

All sequences generated in this study were submitted to GenBank with accession numbers ranging from X to Y (included upon acceptance of this manuscript).

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Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to E. Ayllón, J. Bastida, P. Brakels, J. Escudero, M. Escudero, P.L. Hernández-Sastre, A. Manzanares, M.I. Olmedo, L. Pedrajas, J.M. Pleguezuelos, J.L. Rubio and J.F. Zamora for assistance with field data or samples.

Funding

CR is supported by a postdoctoral contract from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal (DL57/2016/CP1440/CT0005). NS is supported by a CEEC2017 contract (CEECIND/02213/2017) from FCT. Field sampling was supported by projects 280910603 funded by Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Spain and SCGE000209 funded by Junta de Castilla-La Mancha to AHE (Spanish Herpetological Society). Lab work and analysis was supported by projects PTDC/BIA-CBI/28014/2017 (to MAC) and PTDC/BIA-EVL/27958/2017 (to CR) from FCT, Portugal.

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Catarina Rato: Conceptualization, Methodology, Software, Validation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing—Original Draft, Writing—Review & Editing. Neftali Sillero: Methodology, Software, Validation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing—Review & Editing. Francisco Ceacero: Investigation, Writing—Review & Editing. Enrique García-Muñoz: Investigation. Miguel A. Carretero: Conceptualization, Investigation, Resources, Writing—Review & Editing, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition.

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Correspondence to Catarina Rato.

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Collection permits were provided by Junta de Castilla-La Mancha and Junta de Andalucia.

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Communicated by Pedro Aragón.

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Rato, C., Sillero, N., Ceacero, F. et al. A survival story: evolutionary history of the Iberian Algyroides (Squamata: Lacertidae), an endemic lizard relict. Biodivers Conserv 30, 2707–2729 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-021-02217-4

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