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 05. Phylogenetic relationships and origin of the rattlesnakes of the Gulf of California islands (Viperidae: Crotalinae: Crotalus)


Open Access

pp. 162-172

Authors: Eduardo Ruiz-Sanchez, Gustavo Arnaud, Oscar Roberto Cruz-Andrés & Francisco Javier Garcia-De León

Abstract: The islands of the Gulf of California are divided into three categories – oceanic, continental, and landbridge – and were formed from the Middle Miocene to the Holocene. The species of the Crotalus genus are an important ecological element of the endemic fauna of these islands. This study is the first to include several island-endemic species in a phylogenetic framework. We seek to understand the phylogenetic relationships among these species, and in particular, whether these species are more related to the Baja California peninsula or continental Mexican species, and whether the divergence times for these relationships are consistent with the formation of the islands. We performed a phylogenetic analysis and estimated divergence times using Bayesian inference and two mitochondrial 12S and 16S genes. The analyses show a new relationship between Crotalus angelensis and C. pyrrhus. Crotalus lorenzoensis was nested with C. ruber individuals, making this species a paraphyletic species. A novel relationship was also detected in that C. estebanensis was sister to C. basiliscus. The divergence time for all island-endemic Crotalus species is consistent with the formation of these islands. In addition, the insular species are related to their congeners in the Baja California peninsula or mainland Mexico.

Keywords: Baja California Peninsula; Bayesian inference; island-endemic; mtDNA; rattlesnakes

Download Access:

The latest 8 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.

Individual articles can be purchased for download.

Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download


For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

pdfBHS Ethics Policy


Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.