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In order to further investigate an undescribed desmognathan salamander, this study investigated a one-mile long contact zone between the undescribed form and Desmognathus carolinensis in the Lemon Gap area of the Bald Mountains, TN and NC. Variation between the two groups in tooth morphology, allozyme frequencies, and the mitrochondrial cytochrome [beta] was investigated. Analysis of allozymes and a 387 base pair region of the mitochrondrial cytochrome [beta] gene confirm the presence of at least two distinct species along this contact zone. One group of specimens was identified as the expected D. carolinensis of the area, while the other group of specimens was identified as D. sp., the undescribed form previously identified in the area. These two groups are 9.32% divergent and appear as sister taxa in phylogenetic analyses. Tooth morphology was not a reliable character for differentiating between these two groups. Allozyme and mtDNA data both indicate that the undescribed form and D. carolinensis are parapatric cryptic species that exchange genes at this narrow contact zone. The data also reveal that this contact zone contains some unique aspects, encouraging further research
López, Lizmarie, "Structure of a contact zone : analysis of Dusky salamander (genus Desmognathus) populations in the Bald Mountains, Tennessee and North Caroline" (2008). Honors Project, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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