Vertebrate Zoology 70(2): 235-240, doi: 10.26049/VZ70-2-2020-09
The genetic identity of the only Italian population of the genus Macroprotodon Guichenot, 1850 on the island of Lampedusa, Sicily
expand article infoFrancesco Paolo Faraone, Raffaella Melfi, Matteo Riccardo Di Nicola, Gabriele Giacalone, Martin Päckert
Open Access
The only Italian population of false smooth snakes is found on Lampedusa, a small island located in the Sicilian Channel and part of the African continental shelf. The taxonomic identity of this population is currently uncertain, although it is most often attributed to Macroprotodon cucullatus textilis on a morphological basis. We present here the first genetic data on this population. The analysis carried out on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene shows that the Lampedusan false smooth snake belongs to a clade shared with a single sample from central Tunisia. The genetic distance between this lineage and its sister group (M. abubakeri) is comparable to or higher than that found among many reptile species. To define the identity of this distinctive lineage, as well as the Macroprotodon taxonomic structure, further sampling efforts within the undersampled distribution area of this genus and more extensive analyses will be necessary.
Italy, Lampedusa, Macroprotodon, mtDNA, phylogeny