Discoglossus is an anuran clade whose origin can be traced to the Upper Miocene. Extant species of this genus are similar morphologically, and exhibit a circum-Mediterranean Sea distribution. The earliest phylogenetic split within the genus separated D. montalentii from a clade comprising all other species of the genus. D. montalentii is monophyletic for haplotype variation at all loci and has distinctive morphological, bioacoustic, and karyotypic characters. Pabijan et al. found moderate support for a sister-group relationship between the Iberian Peninsula Discoglossus species and the Moroccan D. scovazzi, and high support for a D. pictus/D. sardus clade occurring around the Tyrrhenian basin (Pabijan et al. 2012).
Pabijan et al. explain the speciation of D. galganoi, D. scovazzi, D. pictus and D. sardus as the consequence of a "nearly simultaneous, vicariant diversification". The timing of such speciation is not completely evident, but may have coincided with the ultimate geotectonic rearrangement of the western Mediterranean Sea geography in the Mid-Miocene, or possibly later during the Messinian salinity crisis (Pabijan et al. 2012).
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