The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 06. Phylogenetic relationships of African green snakes (genera Philothamnus and Hapsidophrys) from São Tomé, Príncipe and Annobon islands based on mtDNA sequences, and comments on their colonization and taxonomy

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pp. 41-48
Authors: Jesus, José; Nagy, Zoltán T.; Branch, William R.; Wink, Michael; Brehm, Antonio & Harris, D. James

Abstract: Mitochondrial sequences (16S rRNA and cytochrome b) of the colubrine snake genera Philothamnus and Hapsidophrys were analysed. Samples were obtained from three volcanic islands in the Gulf of Guinea. The main objective was to infer phylogenetic relationships between the taxa and to trace back the colonization patterns of the group. Both insular species, Philothamnus girardi and Philothamnus thomensis, form a monophyletic unit indicating a single colonization event of one island (probably São Tomé) followed by dispersal to Annobon. Genetic divergence was found to be relatively low when compared with other Philothamnus species from the African mainland, but sufficient to consider the two taxa as distinct sister species. Here we also present evidence on the distinct phylogenetic position of Hapsidophrys sp. from the island of Príncipe, which should be considered as a distinct species, Hapsidophrys principis, a sister taxon of H. smaragdina.

Keywords: 16S RRNA, PHILOTHAMNUS GIRARDI, CYTOCHROME B, HAPSIDOPHRYS PRINCIPIS, GULF OF GUINEA ISLANDS, PHILOTHAMNUS THOMENSIS

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