Notes from the Anatolian underground: two new mole taxa from Eastern Turkey, together with a revised phylogeny of the genus Talpa (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Talpidae)
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Subterranean life is associated with strong adaptive constraints, leading to the frequent occurrence of morphologically cryptic lineages. This is true of most small mammals, including moles (Eulipotyphla: Talpidae), where a number of species have been recognized recently, particularly following the application of molecular genetics. Here, we use mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data and geometric morphometrics to explore the systematics and evolution of some of the least-known Western Palaearctic moles: the Talpa davidiana group of Eastern Anatolia/Iran. We show that T. davidiana includes four taxa, two of which we describe herein: T. hakkariensis sp. nov., T. davidiana davidiana, T. davidiana tatvanensis ssp. nov., and T. streetorum valid species. For the first time, we apply molecular species delimitation analyses to Talpa, confirming taxonomic hypotheses and suggesting the existence of further morphologically cryptic lineages. These analyses also support the recognition of T. transcaucasica as a valid species distinct from T. levantis. We present a revised phylogeny for Eurasian Talpa and increase the number of known extant taxa to 18, most of which are found in Anatolia, the global hotspot of diversity in this genus. This probably results from the isolation of suitable habitats by a combination of climatic and topographical heterogeneity.
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