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Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.



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Old 16th January 2006   #1
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The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
16 January 2006

Eurycea Elucidated

Kenneth H. Kozak, Russell A. Blaine & Allan Larson. 2006. Gene lineages and eastern North
American palaeodrainage basins: Phylogeography and speciation in salamanders of the
Eurycea bislineata species complex. Molecular Ecology 15: 191207

Abstract: Contemporary North American drainage basins are composites of formerly
isolated drainages, suggesting that fragmentation and fusion of palaeodrainage systems may have been an important factor generating current patterns of genetic and species diversity in stream-associated
organisms. Here, we combine traditional molecular-phylogenetic, multiple-regression,
nested clade, and molecular-demographic analyses to investigate the relationship between
phylogeographic variation and the hydrogeological history of eastern North American drainage basins in semiaquatic plethodontid salamanders of the Eurycea bislineata species complex. Four hundred forty-two sequences representing 1108 aligned bases from the mitochondrial genome are reported for the five formally recognized species of the E.
bislineata complex and three outgroup taxa. Within the ingroup, 270 haplotypes are
recovered from 144 sampling locations. Geographic patterns of mtDNA-haplotype
coalescence identify 13 putatively independent population-level lineages, suggesting that
the current taxonomy of the group underestimates species-level diversity. Spatial and
temporal patterns of phylogeographic divergence are strongly associated with historical
rather than modern drainage connections, indicating that shifts in major drainage patterns
played a pivotal role in the allopatric fragmentation of populations and build-up of lineage
diversity in these stream-associated salamanders. More generally, our molecular genetic
results corroborate geological and faunistic evidence suggesting that palaeodrainage
connections altered by glacial advances and headwater erosion occurring between the
mid-Miocene and Pleistocene epochs explain regional patterns of biodiversity in eastern
North American streams.

A gratis downloadable pdf of the paper by Kozak, Blaine & Larson is available from the
CNAH PDF Library at

CNAH: Provides evidence for recognition of Eurycea aquatica (Brownback Salamander),
Eurycea junaluska (Junaluska Salamander) and Eurycea bislineata (Northern Two-lined
Salalamander) as distinct species.

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