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Western Salamanders of the Genus Plethodon: Systematics and Geographic Variation

Edmund D. Brodie, Jr.
Herpetologica
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Dec., 1970), pp. 468-516
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3890773
Page Count: 49
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Western Salamanders of the Genus Plethodon: Systematics and Geographic Variation
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Abstract

Western salamanders of the genus Plethodon constitute three species groups: Vandykei group (vandykei, larselli), Vehiculum group (vehiculum, dunni, gordoni sp. nov.), and Elongatus group (elongatus, stormi). P. gordoni is described as closely related to dunni, and subspecies of vandykei are not recognized due to the discordant nature of geographic variation. Each species is described in detail and a key to the species is provided. A dendrogram of proposed evolutionary relationships is presented; P. vandykei is considered the most primitive and elongatus is considered the most specialized. Character displacement is exhibited by sympatric dunni and gordoni. Character convergence occurs for dunni where it is sympatric with larselli and elongatus. Geographic variation in costal groove number, tooth numbers, limb length, pigment characters, and head shape was examined in each species. The number of maxillary plus premaxillary teeth was shown to be valuable in determining phylogenetic relationships. Significant geographic variation is present in vandykei, larselli, vehiculum, dunni, and elongatus but subspecific designations are not justified.

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