Electronic versions



  • Peng Guo
    Yibin University
  • Qin Liu
    Yibin University
  • Fei Zhu
    Guizhou Normal University
  • Guang H. Zhong
    Sichuan Academy of Forestry
  • Jing Che
    Chinese Academy of Sciences, KunmingSoutheast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute
  • Ping Wang
    Yibin University
  • Yu L. Xie
    Yibin University
  • Robert W. Murphy
    Chinese Academy of Sciences, KunmingCentre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Royal Ontario Museum,
  • Anita Malhotra
Understanding the influence of geographical events and climate changes on genetic diversity is essential in explaining current patterns of genetic structure and geographic distribution of organisms. We inferred phylogenetic relationships, investigated historical demography, explored the evolutionary history, and clarified intraspecific taxonomy of Protobothrops mucrosquamatus, which is one of the commonest and most wide-ranging Asian pitvipers. A total of 184 samples from 54 localities were sequenced and analyzed for two mitochondrial gene fragments and two nuclear genes. Phylogenetic reconstruction based on mtDNA sequences revealed the existence of a minimum of five geographically structured and well-supported lineages within P. mucrosquamatus. Based on the mtDNA gene tree, and the geographic relationship between populations allied by matrilineal lineages, a complex longitudinal and latitudinal diversification pattern was uncovered in P. mucrosquamatus. The estimated date of the origin of the species (about 5.3 Ma) and divergence of the intraspecific lineages match the rapid uplifting of Qinghai-Xizang Plateau, and is also consistent with those of some other co-distributed Asian pitvipers. Formation of the two island lineages (Taiwan and Hainan) was generally congruent with the first isolation of the islands, but the two lineages showed different relationships with the continental Asian populations in comparison with some other pitvipers. Population historical demographic analyses, based on three methods, showed that all lineages have experienced slight population expansion in and around the Dali Glacial. Tests of intraspecific taxonomy indicated that no cryptic taxon is present within this widely distributed snake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Early online date28 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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