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Molecular Systematics and Evolution of Regina and the Thamnophiine Snakes
 

Summary: Molecular Systematics and Evolution of Regina
and the Thamnophiine Snakes
Michael E. Alfaro*,1
and Stevan J. Arnold
*Section of Evolution and Ecology One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, California 95616; and
Department of Zoology, Cord 5024, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331
Received January 18, 2001; revised May 25, 2001
Snakes of the tribe Thamnophiini represent an eco-
logically important component of the herpetofauna in
a range of habitats across North America. Thamnophi-
ines are the best-studied colubrids, yet little is known
of their systematic relationships. A molecular phylo-
genetic study of 32 thamnophiine species using three
complete mitochondrial genes (cytochrome b, NADH
dehydrogenase subunit 2, and 12S ribosomal DNA) re-
covered a well-supported phylogeny with three major
clades: a garter snake group, a water snake group, and
a novel semifossorial group. The historically conten-
tious genus Regina, which contains the crayfish-eating
snakes, is polyphyletic. The phylogeographic pattern

  

Source: Arnold, Stevan J. - Department of Zoology, Oregon State University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology