Sunday, March 15, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Boaedon radfordi • A Phylogeny of Central African Boaedon (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae), with the Description of A New Cryptic Species from the Albertine Rift


Radford's House Snake Boaedon radfordi 
Greenbaum, Portillo, Jackson & Kusamba, 2015

Abstract
The Central African house snake Boaedon olivaceus has a large distribution from the forests of West Africa to Mabira Forest in Uganda. We sequenced two mitochondrial (cyt b and ND4) and two nuclear (c-mos and RAG1) genes from several populations of B. olivaceus in Central Africa and recovered two highly divergent lineages (Congo Basin and Albertine Rift) attributable to this species. Dating analyses with BEAST suggest the two lineages last shared a common ancestor during the mid-Miocene approximately 12 million years ago, and data from RAG1 showed consistent differences in two amino acids for topotypic Congo Basin B. olivaceus compared to the Albertine Rift lineage and all other examined species of Boaedon. Based on these striking molecular differences and significant differences in ventral scale counts and the number of supralabials contacting the eye, we describe the Albertine Rift lineage as a new species. The recognition of this new species bolsters the importance of the Albertine Rift as an important region for endemism and conservation in continental Africa. Based on the results of our phylogenetic analyses, the poorly known taxon Lycodonomorphus subtaeniatus upembae is elevated to full species status and transferred to the genus Boaedon.

Key words: Central Africa, house snake, montane, endemism


Radford's House Snake Boaedon radfordi,
was discovered in the mountains along the Albertine Rift in central Africa


 Greenbaum, E., Portillo, F., Jackson, K., & Kusamba, C. 2015. A Phylogeny of Central African Boaedon (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae), with the Description of A New Cryptic Species from the Albertine Rift. African Journal of Herpetology. 64(1):18-38. DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2014.996189 


Whitman professor part of team to identify new snake species

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