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Molecular and phenotypic diversity in Chionactis occipitalis (Western Shovel-nosed Snake), with emphasis on the status of C. o. klauberi (Tucson Shovel-nosed Snake).

Conservation Genetics

By:
, , , , and
DOI: 10.1007/s10592-007-9482-0

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Abstract

Chionactis occipitalis (Western Shovel-nosed Snake) is a small colubrid snake inhabiting the arid regions of the Mojave, Sonoran, and Colorado deserts. Morphological assessments of taxonomy currently recognize four subspecies. However, these taxonomic proposals were largely based on weak morphological differentiation and inadequate geographic sampling. Our goal was to explore evolutionary relationships and boundaries among subspecies of C. occipitalis, with particular focus on individuals within the known range of C. o. klauberi (Tucson Shovel-nosed snake). Population sizes and range for C. o. klauberi have declined over the last 25 years due to habitat alteration and loss prompting a petition to list this subspecies as endangered. We examined the phylogeography, population structure, and subspecific taxonomy of C. occipitalis across its geographic range with genetic analysis of 1100 bases of mitochondrial DNA sequence and reanalysis of 14 morphological characters from 1543 museum specimens. We estimated the species gene phylogeny from 81 snakes using Bayesian inference and explored possible factors influencing genetic variation using landscape genetic analyses. Phylogenetic and population genetic analyses reveal genetic isolation and independent evolutionary trajectories for two primary clades. Our data indicate that diversification between these clades has developed as a result of both historical vicariance and environmental isolating mechanisms. Thus these two clades likely comprise 'evolutionary significant units' (ESUs). Neither molecular nor morphological data are concordant with the traditional C. occipitalis subspecies taxonomy. Mitochondrial sequences suggest specimens recognized as C. o. klauberi are embedded in a larger geographic clade whose range has expanded from western Arizona populations, and these data are concordant with clinal longitudinal variation in morphology. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Molecular and phenotypic diversity in Chionactis occipitalis (Western Shovel-nosed Snake), with emphasis on the status of C. o. klauberi (Tucson Shovel-nosed Snake).
Series title:
Conservation Genetics
DOI:
10.1007/s10592-007-9482-0
Volume
9
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Conservation Genetics
First page:
1489
Last page:
1507