A new cryptic species of the Darevskia parvula group from NE Anatolia (Squamata, Lacertidae)
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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 tuniyevisp. 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. tuniyevisp. nov., and showed that D. adjarica and D. tuniyevisp. 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. tuniyevisp. nov. Therefore, we can consider that D. parvula and D. tuniyevisp. 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. © 2022, Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik.