The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2020 Impact Factor for the Herpetological Journal is 0.862

pdf 13. Geographic variation and taxonomic status of the southernmost populations of Liophis miliaris (Linnaeus, 1758) (Serpentes: Colubridae)


Open Access

pp. 213-220
Authors: Giraudo, Alejandro R.; Arzamendia, Vanesa & Cacciali, Pier

Abstract: We analyzed geographic variation in southern populations of Liophis miliaris and tested the hypothesis that L. m. semiaureus is a valid species. We examined 222 specimens from Argentina and Paraguay, including those from the areas of overlap of L. m. semiaureus and L. m. orinus, and compared these data with previous taxonomic revisions. We performed univariate statistical tests comparing L. m. semiaureus and L. m. orinus, and a discriminant function analysis using three morphological variables to compare four subpopulations, including two of L. m. semiaureus and two of L. m. orinus. We examined coloration in life in 152 specimens. These data and analyses support the hypothesis of L. semiaureus as a valid species: univariate analyses show significant differences in ventral and subcaudal numbers, and snout-vent length/tail length ratio between the two putative subspecies. L. m. semiaureus has significant more ventrals and subcaudals than L. m. orinus. Discriminant analysis separated two defined populations corresponding to L. m. orinus and L. m. semiaureus. Populations of L. m. semiaureus that are in contact with L. m. orinus populations show the highest ventral values of all of the L. m. semiaureus populations examined by us. We recorded differences in coloration among the juveniles of both subspecies, including specimens from neighbouring localities. The distributions are parapatric and have different ecological and historical settings. We discuss the validity of some diagnostic characters that have been used to distinguish L. m. semiaureus.


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