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 05. Systematics of the Protobothrops jerdonii complex (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae) inferred from morphometric data and molecular phylogeny

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Open Access

pp. 85-96
Authors: Guo, Peng; Malhotra, Anita; Li, Cao; Creer, Simon; Pook, Catharine E. & Wen, Tao

Abstract: Although the systematics of Protobothrops is well resolved at the interspecific level, the intraspecific taxonomy and geographical boundaries of P. jerdonii are still controversial. In the present work, based on a combination of multivariate morphometric analysis and molecular phylogeny, the intra-specific relationships among lineages of P. jerdonii, as well as the relationship between P. jerdonii and P. xiangchengensis, were explored. Both parsimony and Bayesian inference showed that P. xiangchengensis was nested within P. jerdonii. Specimens of P. jerdonii fell into three distinct clades, but relationships among these three clades, and with P. xiangchengensis, were not well resolved. Morphometric trait analysis could not reveal distinct clusters among P. jerdonii, but P. xiangchengensis was shown to be significantly different from all P. jerdonii specimens. Colour pattern differences among P. jerdonii populations do not correspond to mitochondrial clades. Taking the results of the morphological comparison and molecular analysis into consideration, we affirm the validity of P. xiangchengensis, and suggest that P. jerdonii should be considered a monotypic species.

Keywords: MORPHOMETRIC TRAIT ANALYSIS, TAXONOMY, P. XIANGCHENGENSIS, ASIAN PITVIPERS, PROTOBOTHROPS JERDONII

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