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

2021 Impact Factor from Clarivate for the Herpetological Journal is 1.194, an increase of 0.332 from 2020.

pdf 02. Living on the EDGE: From the evolutionary uniqueness to the conservation status of the Colombian elapids and viperids


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pp. 11-21

Authors: Yolima Moya-Bedoya, Daniela Cortés-Díaz, Andrés Felipe Grajales-Andica, Víctor M. Martínez-Arias, Juan Esteban Cáceres-Rave, Fernando Vargas-Salinas & Diana L. Buitrago-Torres

Abstract: Phylogenetics applied to conservation provides a comprehensive and alternative approach that contributes to prioritising species and areas for conservation, even if the species have significant information gaps concerning their ecology. Using a distribution of 10,000 phylogenetic trees of the 30 elapid and 21 viperid snakes in Colombia, we calculated the species evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) scores. Then, based on the ED median values reported from previously fully-sampled phylogenies of squamates, we quantified evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) scores and, with updated distribution maps of the species, we computed and plotted biogeographically weighted evolutionary distinctiveness (BED) scores. Among threatened species, Bothrocophias campbelli reached the highest ED score. This species, together with Micrurus medemi, are the top EDGE species, and with Micrurus renjifoi achieved the highest BED scores. The spatial patterns of richness and BED values highlight the Andean, Amazonian and Pacific regions as biodiversity hotspots. Although some areas are under some protection status, anthropic pressures, such as deforestation, along with the lack of knowledge about these snakes, exhibit a worrisome panorama. Thus, it is imperative to implement conservation measures focused on areas where species with both ecological and evolutionary value are concentrated.

Keywords: Coral snakes, Elapidae, evolutionary distinctiveness, global endangerment, phylogenetic diversity, Viperidae, vipers

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