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What should we call the Levant mole? Unravelling the systematics and demography of Talpa levantis Thomas, 1906 sensu lato (Mammalia: Talpidae)

Abstract

Turkey hosts 5 of the 11 species of Talpa described to date and Anatolia, in particular, appears to be an important centre of diversity for this genus. Of these taxa, the Levant mole, Talpa levantis Thomas, 1906 has been found to consist of two genetically divergent sublineages, which may represent separate species. Here, we use a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences from specimens of T. levantis s.lat., collected across the species’ geographical range, to explore the systematics and demographic history of Levant moles. Both mitochondrial and nuclear markers confirm the existence of distinct eastern and western sublineages, which apparently diverged from each other in the early Pleistocene. Given the degree of cytochrome-b divergence between these (7.28%), we consider them to represent independent cryptic species. By including topotypic specimens of T. levantis s. str. in our study, we are able to show that this name applies to the western sublineage, distributed across most of the Anatolian Black Sea coastal region, from the vicinity of Trabzon in the east, westwards to Marmara. The earliest name available for the eastern taxon, found in Transcaucasia and adjacent parts of north-eastern Anatolia, is T. transcaucasica Dahl, 1944. Cytochrome-b haplotype diversity in T. levantis is relatively high and demographic analyses suggest that the species may have survived in multiple, separate, refugial areas during the Pleistocene. Our work brings the total number of named mole species recognized in Turkey to six, emphasising the importance of this region as a global centre of mole diversification.

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Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank anonymous reviewers for providing very helpful suggestions that improved the manuscript.

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This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to İslam Gündüz.

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Appendix: Additional GenBank accession numbers (not listed in Table 1) for sequences of Talpa species used in phylogenetic analyses

Appendix: Additional GenBank accession numbers (not listed in Table 1) for sequences of Talpa species used in phylogenetic analyses

Species Cyt-b BRCA2
Locality Accession numbers References Locality Accession numbers References
T. europaea Germany, Lübeck AB037601 Tsuchiya et al. (2000) Russia, Northern Urals, Pechora-Ilych NR KP717098 Bannikova et al. (2015)
France, Semilly-Escamps KU189429 Nicolas et al. (2017b) Turkey, Kuleli Köyü, Babaeski, Kırklareli KP717101 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Garevka KF801564 Feuda et al. (2015) Ukraine, Cherkassk region, Kanevskiy Nature Reserve KP717103 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Moscow KF801558 Feuda et al. (2015) Italy, Assisi, Casa Casella, Perugia KP717102 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Sweden, Dalby Y19192 Mouchaty et al. (2000)    
France, Trieves FN640550 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Turkey, Kuleli Köyü, Babaeski, Kırklareli KP717322 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Ukraine, Cherkassk region, Kanevskiy Nature Reserve KF801572 Feuda et al. (2015)    
Ukraine, Kiev region, Brovary KF801575 Feuda et al. (2015)    
Ukraine, Kiev KF801573 Feuda et al. (2015)    
Ukraine, Kosovo KF801574 Feuda et al. (2015)    
Italy, Valfabbrica, Monte Villano, Perugia KP717320 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Italy, Assisi, Casa Casella, Perugia KP717321 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Italy, Belvedere, Perugia FN640551 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Italy, Valtellina, Sondalo KP717324 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Italy, Modena FN640549 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Italy, Valtellina, Sondalo KF801528 Feuda et al. (2015)    
T. aquitania Spain, Montseny KF801509 Feuda et al. (2015)    
France, Pyrenees-Orientales KU189596 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
Spain, Sant Pere De Vilamajor KF801507 Feuda et al. (2015)    
France, Nantheuil KU189691 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
France, Avensan KU189615 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
France, Gaillan en Médoc KU189696 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
France, Creste KU189628 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
France, Nieul-les-Saintes KU189674 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
Spain, Hijas KU189588 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
Spain, Aizarnazabal KU189589 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
T. occidentalis Spain, Oles KU189707 Nicolas et al. (2017b) Spain, Granada KP717106 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Spain, Priesca KU189704 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
Spain, Vegadali KU189709 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
Spain, La Fajera KU189721 Nicolas et al. (2017b)    
T. martinorum Bulgaria, Strandzha Mt. MH093591 Kryštufek et al. (2018)    
T. romana Italy, Pizzone, Isernia FN640565 Colangelo et al. (2010) Italy, Assisi, Croce di Mora, Perugia KP717109 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Italy, Acri HQ233519 Canestrelli et al. (2010)    
Italy, Assisi, Croce di Mora, Perugia KP717329 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Italy, Formello, Roma FN640564 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Italy, Lagonegro HQ233503 Canestrelli et al. (2010)    
Italy, Melia HQ233603 Canestrelli et al. (2010)    
Italy, Decollatura, Catanzaro FN640562 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Italy, Decollatura, Catanzaro FN640563 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Italy, Borgia HQ233562 Canestrelli et al. (2010)    
Italy, Arcavacata HQ233529 Canestrelli et al. (2010)    
Italy, Gambarie HQ233595 Canestrelli et al. (2010)    
T. stankovici Greece, western Macedonia FN640566 Colangelo et al. (2010) Macedonia, Bistra KP717123 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Greece, Axiopulus FN640567 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Macedonia, Pelister KP717347 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Macedonia, Bistra KP717348 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
T. caeca Italy, Capracotta KP717333 Bannikova et al. (2015) Italy, Majelletta KP717113 Bannikova et al. (2015)
  Italy, Majelletta KP717331 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Italy, Prati di Tivo FN640558 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Italy, Prati di Tivo, Gran Sasso KP717332 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
Switzerland, Bellinzone DQ630425 Dubey et al.
(2007b)
   
Italy, Monte Cucco, Umbria FN640559 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
T. davidiana Turkey, Çataklı Köyü, Tatvan, Bitlis KP717363 Bannikova et al. (2015) Turkey, Çataklı Köyü, Tatvan, Bitlis KP717132 Bannikova et al. (2015)
  Turkey, Çataklı Köyü, Tatvan, Bitlis KP717364 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
T. talyschensis Azerbaijan, Astara, Vazezamin KP717368 Bannikova et al. (2015) Azerbaijan, Astara, Vazezamin KP717137 Bannikova et al. (2015)
     Azerbaijan, Astara, Vazezamin KP717138 Bannikova et al. (2015)
T. caucasica Russia, Nalchik vicinity KP717350 Bannikova et al. (2015) Russia, Nalchik region, Khasanya KP717125 Bannikova et al. (2015)
  Russia, Adygea, Kisha river KP717349 Bannikova et al. (2015) Russia, Adygea, Kisha river KP717124 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Adygea, Kisha river KP717351 Bannikova et al. (2015) Russia, Krasnodar Krai, Krasnaya Polyana KP717128 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Krasnodar Krai, Krasnaya Polyana KP717352 Bannikova et al. (2015)    
T. ognevi Turkey, Cumhuriyet Mahallesi, Hopa, Artvin KP717354 Bannikova et al. (2015) Turkey, Cumhuriyet Mahallesi, Hopa, Artvin KP717129 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Turkey, Cumhuriyet Mahallesi, Hopa, Artvin KP717355 Bannikova et al. (2015) Turkey, Cumhuriyet Mahallesi, Hopa, Artvin KP717131 Bannikova et al. (2015)
T. altaica Russia, Krasnoyarsk region, Middle Yenisei KP717371 Bannikova et al. (2015) Russia, Krasnoyarsk region, Middle Yenisei KP717141 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Krasnoyarsk region, Middle Yenisei KP717372 Bannikova et al. (2015) Russia, Altai, Teletskoye Lake KP717139 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Krasnoyarsk region, Middle Yenisei KP717373 Bannikova et al. (2015) Russia, Altai, Teletskoye Lake KP717140 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Russia, Novosibirsk AB037602 Tsuchiya et al. (2000) Unknown JN414313 Meredith et al. (2011)
Russia, Altai, Teletskoye Lake FN640580 Colangelo et al. (2010)    
Mogera robusta Russia, Ussuri Nature Reserve KC481327 Zemlemerova et al. (2013) Russia, Ussuri Nature Reserve KP717143 Bannikova et al. (2015)
Parascaptor leucura China, Yunnan HG737879 He et al. (2014) China, Yunnan KX755213 He et al. (2017)
Euroscaptor mizura Japan, Ashiu, Kyoto AB037604 Tsuchiya et al. (2000) Japan, Aomori KX755199 He et al. (2017)
Euroscaptor longirostris Vietnam, province Laokai, Sa Pa KC481347 Zemlemerova et al. (2013) Vietnam, Vinh Phuuc KX755203 He et al. (2017)

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Demırtaş, S., Silsüpür, M., Searle, J.B. et al. What should we call the Levant mole? Unravelling the systematics and demography of Talpa levantis Thomas, 1906 sensu lato (Mammalia: Talpidae). Mamm Biol 100, 1–18 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42991-020-00010-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42991-020-00010-4

Keywords

  • Talpa
  • Cytochrome b
  • BRCA2
  • Phylogeny
  • Anatolia