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The Phylogenetic Relationships of Asian Coral Snakes (Elapidae: Calliophis and Maticora) Based on Morphological and Molecular Characters

Joseph B. Slowinski, Jeff Boundy and Robin Lawson
Herpetologica
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 233-245
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3893186
Page Count: 13
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The Phylogenetic Relationships of Asian Coral Snakes (Elapidae: Calliophis and Maticora) Based on Morphological and Molecular Characters
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Abstract

We performed phylogenetic analyses of the Asian coral snakes (Elapidae: Calliophis and Maticora) based on morphological and cytochrome b sequence characters, comparing them also to American coral snakes (Micruroides and Micrurus). Asian coral snakes fall into three major clades: (1) the tropical mainland species C. beddomei, C. bibroni, C. gracilis, C. maculiceps, C. melanurus, C. nigrescens, and Maticora, (2) the Philippine C. calligaster, and (3) the northern tropical/subtropical mainland species C. hatori, C. japonicus, C. kelloggi, C. macclellandi, and C. sauteri. This last clade is closely related to the New World coral snakes. These three clades of Asian coral snakes warrant generic recognition, which necessitates a new name for the last clade. The pattern of relationships inferred in this study imply that the New World coral snakes are derived from an ancestor which dispersed from Asia into the New World, presumably over the Bering land bridge.

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