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  • Simon Maddock
    Natural History Museum, London
  • Aaron Childerstone
  • B.G. Fry
    The University of Queensland
  • David J. Williams
    University of Melbourne
  • Axel Barlow
    University of Potsdam
  • Wolfgang Wüster
Genetic analyses of Australasian organisms have resulted in the identification of extensive cryptic diversity across the continent. The venomous elapid snakes are among the best-studied organismal groups in this region, but many knowledge gaps persist: for instance, despite their iconic status, the species-level diversity among Australo-Papuan blacksnakes (Pseudechis) has remained poorly understood due to the existence of a group of cryptic species within the P. australis species complex, collectively termed “pygmy mulga snakes”. Using two mitochondrial and three nuclear loci we assess species boundaries within the genus using Bayesian species delimitation methods and reconstruct their phylogenetic history using multispecies coalescent approaches. Our analyses support the recognition of 10 species, including all of the currently described pygmy mulga snakes and one undescribed species from the Northern Territory of Australia. Phylogenetic relationships within the genus are broadly consistent with previous work, with the recognition of three major groups, the viviparous red-bellied black snake P. porphyriacus forming the sister species to two clades consisting of ovoviviparous species.


  • Australia, New Guinea, molecular phylogenetics, bpp, snakes, multispecies coalescent
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue numberFebruary
Early online date13 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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