Wednesday, September 30, 2015

[Herpetology • 2015] Muhtarophis gen. nov. • Molecular Phylogeny and Micro CT-Scanning Revealed Extreme Cryptic Biodiversity in Kukri Snake, A New Genus for Rhynchocalamus barani (Serpentes: Colubridae)


Muhtarophis barani
 (Olgun, Avcý, Ilgaz, Üzüm et Yýlmaz, 2007)

Application of taxonomy exclusively based on external morphology, molecular phylogeny and noninvasive anatomical investigation using micro CT scanning together is effective in resolving systematic problems, such as cryptic species. The external morphology, skull osteology and molecular phylogeny of Baran’s black-headed dwarf snake, Rhynchocalamus barani, and a subspecies of the Palestine kukri snake, Rhynchocalamus melanocephalus, were examined. Considerable osteological and molecular differences indicate that the genus Rhynchocalamus is paraphyletic. As a result, Baran’s black-headed dwarf snake should be referred to a monotypic genus, Muhtarophis gen. nov. Based on morphology and molecular data, R. satunini, previously known as a subspecies of R. melanocephalus, should be assigned the rank of species. 


Keywords: Muhtarophis gen. nov.; Rhynchocalamus melanocephalus; Rhynchocalamus satunini; Colubridae; Turkey.




Muhtarophis gen. nov.
Type species. Rhynchocalamus barani Olgun, Avcý, Ilgaz, Üzüm et Yýlmaz, 2007.
Muhtarophis barani (Olgun, Avcý, Ilgaz, Üzüm et Yýlmaz, 2007);
Rhynchocalamus barani Olgun, Avcý, Ilgaz, Üzüm et Yýlmaz, 2007;
Rhynchocalamus barani — Avcý, Üzüm, Ilgaz et Olgun, 2009;
Rhynchocalamus barani — Gruber, 2009;
Rhynchocalamus barani — Baran, Ilgaz, Avcý, Kumlutaþ et Olgun, 2012.

Derivatio nominis. The new genus is named after Prof. Dr. Muhtar Baþoðlu, the first Turkish herpetologist, together with ophis, i.e., snake; the gender is masculine.
Etymology. The new species is in dedication to Prof. Dr. İbrahim BARAN of the University of Dokuz Eylül, İzmir, to acknowledge his prolific and uninterrupted contribution to the herpetology of the Turkey.  

Distribution. Muhtarophis gen. nov. is endemic to Turkey. It is only recorded in Hatay Province, Turkey.



Aziz Avcý, Çetin Ilgaz, Mahdi Rajabizadeh, Can Yýlmaz, Nazan Üzüm, Dominique Adriaens, Yusuf Kumlutaþ and Kurtuluþ Olgun. 2015. Molecular Phylogeny and Micro CT-Scanning Revealed Extreme Cryptic Biodiversity in Kukri Snake, Muhtarophis gen. nov., a New Genus for Rhynchocalamus barani (Serpentes: Colubridae). Russian Journal of Herpetology. 22(3); 159 – 174

Aziz Avcı, Nazan Üzüm, Çetin Ilgaz and Kurtuluş Olgun. 2009. A new finding of Rhynchocalamus barani, Baran’s black-headed dwarf snake (Reptilia, Colubridae), in the Mediterranean region of Turkey widens its distribution range. Acta Herpetologica. 4(2): 177-182. 

Olgun, K., Avcı, A., Ilgaz, Ç., Üzüm, N. and Yılmaz, C. 2007. A new species of Rhynchocalamus
(Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae) from Turkey. Zootaxa. 1399: 57-68.

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