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DNA analysis of salamanders turns up new species under almost every log, UC Berkeley zoologists find

n salamanders."

Interestingly, the Lineatriton genus and a more widespread soil-dwelling salamander of the tropical lowlands, Oedipina, evolved different ways to invade the soil, what biologists call convergence. While Oedipina developed more vertebrae - expanding from 14 to 18-22 vertebrae between the head and tail -Lineatriton kept the same number, 14, but grew them longer. Both have tails that stretch nearly twice the length of the rest of the body.

Wake and Parra-Olea found from their DNA analysis, which included many of Mexico's tropical lowland salamanders, that Lineatriton and Oedipina are not closely related either. "These findings give us insight into the patterns of convergent and parallel evolution and how lineages diversify," Wake said. "Without new molecular techniques, this would have been impossible."


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Contact: Robert Sanders
rls@pa.urel.berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
3-Jul-2001


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