Molecular assessment of Podarcis sicula populations in Britain, Greece and Turkey reinforces a multiple-origin invasion pattern in this species

Iolanda Silva-Rocha, Daniele Salvi, D. James Harris, Susana Freitas, Chris Davis, Jim Foster, Guntram Deichsel, Chloe Adamopoulou, Miguel A. Carretero


Biological invasions are a challenge to conservation and constitute a threat to biodiversity worldwide. The Italian wall lizard Podarcis sicula has been widely introduced, and seems capable of adapting to most of the regions where it is established and to impact on native biota. Here we construct a phylogenetic framework to assess the origin of the introduced populations in the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey comparing cytochrome-b gene sequences of lizards from five locations to published sequences from the native range and other non-native locations. The results support an origin from central Italy for the United Kingdom population, from the Adriatic region for the Greek population and from Calabria for the population from Turkey. These results emphasise the multiple-source pattern of introduction of this species identified in previous studies. The improvement in the knowledge of the origin and pathways by which invaders arrive in new areas, as well as the monitoring of their populations, are crucial for successful strategies to deal with exotic species.

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