Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4093.3.5

Multilocus phylogeny of the Asian Lance-headed pitvipers (Squamata, Viperidae, Protobothrops)

PENG GUO, QIN LIU, TAO WEN, RONG XIAO, MING FANG, GUANGHUI ZHONG, NGUYEN Q. TRUONG, FEI ZHU, ROBERT C. JADIN, CAO LI

Abstract


Despite the public health significance and potential applications to medical research, the evolutionary history of the Asian Lance-headed pitvipers (genus Protobothrops) remains inadequately studied. Previous research generally focused on a few selected species with no comprehensive molecular study of Protobothrops. Here, we conduct the first study to infer the phylogenetic relationships of all currently recognized species in this genus based on four mitochondrial DNA fragments and four nuclear genes. Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses show that within Protobothrops there are four strongly supported clades forming distinct subgroups. The first subgroup, which is sister to the other three, consists of three species, P. himalayanus, P. kaulbacki, and P. sieversorum. The second subgroup contains only P. mangshanensis. The final two subgroups, which are sister groups, include the other four and six Protobothrops species. Although our findings provide additional information on the phylogenetic relationships of the genus Protobothrops, the placement of P. dabieshanensis and P. elegans remains problematic. In addition, our molecular results indicate that P. trungkhanhensis, currently considered endemic to Vietnam, should be added to the species known from China. Our ancestral area estimation indicated that Protobothrops likely originated in southwestern China. This study improves our understanding of the evolutionary relationships among species of Asian Lance-headed pitvipers, providing a greater framework for future studies.

 


Keywords


Reptilia, Asia, Bayesian, distribution, venomous snake, systematics

Full Text:

PDF/A (1.23 MB)

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


 
ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa