Distribution of the Common or Viviparous Lizard, Zootoca vivipara in Central Europe
The widely distributed viviparous lizard Zootoca vivipara (Lichtenstein 1823) revealed considerable differences in physiology, karyology, molecular genetics, and natural history. Based on chromosomal and mtDNA data several distinct karyotypic forms and haplotypes have been described from Central Europe. In an attempt to further clarify the geographic distribution of two karyologically different forms within the viviparous, nominotypic Z. v. vivipara, we studied the karyotypes of specimens from two NE German localities in West Pomerania (Baltic Sea) and Brandenburg, respectively, and also of those from Mt. Kopaonik in Serbia. All individuals karyotyped represented the western form of Z. v. vivipara that differs from other chromosomal forms of Central Europe in several karyotype characters. It inhabits the south coast of the Baltic Sea between the German harbor city of Kiel in the west and the Russian harbor city of Kaliningrad in the east. Recently, the eastern, so-called Russian form of Z. v. vivipara was recorded also in the Kaliningrad exclave, in Belarus near the border Belarus-Poland and even in easternmost Poland, then further eastwards along the Baltic Sea coast including Finland. Our data show that easternmost German populations still belong to the western form, as it is also the case in the SE European Serbian locality sampled. Together with previous data sets, our results document chromosomal uniformity within the western form of Z. v. vivipara from the Baltic Sea coast to the Carpathian basin and the central Balkans, and earlier hypotheses of the postglacial recolonization of the Baltic Sea basin by Z. vivipara are corroborated.