Phylogenetic relationships among salamandrids of the "true" salamander clade are investigated using 2019 aligned base positions (713 parsimony informative) of 20 mitochondrial DNA sequences from the genes encoding ND1 (subunit one of NADH dehydrogenase), tRNA(Il3), tRNA(Gln), tRNA(Met), ND2, tRNA(Trp), tRNA(Ala), tRN(Asn), tRNA(Cys), tRNA(Tyr), and COI (subunit I of cytochrome c oxidase), plus the origin for light-strand replication (O-L) between the tRNA(Asn) and the tRNA(Cys) genes. Parsimony analysis produces a robust phylogenetic estimate for the relationships of the major groups of "true" salamanders. Strong support is provided for the sister taxon relationship of Chioglossa and Mertensiella caucasica and for the placement of Salamandra and Mertensiella luschani as sister taxa. These relationships suggest two vicariant events between Europe and Anatolia caused by the formation of seaways in the Mediterranean Basin. Molecular divergence indicates an Early Miocene separation of Chioglossa and M. caucasica and a Late Miocene separation of Salamandra and M. luschani. The traditional phylogenetic hypothesis of a monophyletic Mertensiella is statistically rejected, indicating that southwestern and northeastern Anatolian populations have separate historical biogeographic origins. Therefore, we recommend placement of M. luschani in the genus Salamandra. Within M. luschani, six highly divergent lineages showing 7.6 to 10.1% pairwise sequence divergence are identified, Tests using four-taxon subsamples suggest that these lineages diverged nearly simultaneously in the Late Miocene, approximately 6 to 8 million years ago, when extensive uplifting of Anatolia occurred in response to the Arabian collision, (C) 2001 Academic Press.