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A new cryptic species of the Darevskia parvula group from NE Anatolia (Squamata, Lacertidae)


In this study, we re-examine the Darevskia parvula group comprehensively using morphology, osteology and mitochondrial phylogeny, and describe a new endemic species from Turkey: Darevskia tuniyevi sp. nov. A total of 257 adult specimens were evaluated for external morphology (scalation and biometry) with univariate (descriptive statistics and ANOVA with post-hoc tests) and multivariate (Discriminant Analysis and ANOSIM) analyses. In parallel, osteological data and molecular analyses using three DNA markers (mitochondrial 16S rRNA and Cyt-b, nuclear Rag-1) were used to complete the description of the new taxon. The molecular phylogenetic analyses indicated that the D. parvula group is composed of three taxa as D. parvula, D. adjarica and D. tuniyevi sp. nov., and showed that D. adjarica and D. tuniyevi sp. nov. are reciprocal sister taxa. On the other hand, D. adjarica is morphologically very different from other two forms, while D. parvula is hardly distinguishable externally from D. tuniyevi sp. nov. Therefore, we can consider that D. parvula and D. tuniyevi sp. nov. are cryptic species. These two cryptic species retain their primitive morphology within the group, while D. adjarica has changed, perhaps due to different bioclimatic conditions in its Pleistocene refuge and current area.

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Data availability

The molecular genetic datasets generated and/or analysed in the present study are available from the GenBank repository (


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We would like to thank Dr. David Tarkhnishvili for valuable comments on an earlier version of the manuscript and for providing us with Darevskia adjarica samples from Georgia. We also thank Catherine Yiğit for linguistic help with the text, and the reviewers for their many precious comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript.

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Arribas, O., Candan, K., Kurnaz, M. et al. A new cryptic species of the Darevskia parvula group from NE Anatolia (Squamata, Lacertidae). Org Divers Evol 22, 475–490 (2022).

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