Phylogenetic and morphological analysis of Gloydius himalayanus (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae), with the description of a new species

Sourish KUTTALAM, Vishal SANTRA, John Benjamin OWENS, Melvin SELVAN, Nilanjan MUKHERJEE, Stuart GRAHAM, Anatoli TOGRIDOU, Omesh K. BHARTI, Jingsong SHI, Kartik SHANKER & Anita MALHOTRA

en European Journal of Taxonomy 852 (1) - Pages 1-30

Published on 13 December 2022

Gloydius is a widespread pitviper group occurring from Eastern Europe to Korea and Siberia, with only one known species, G. himalayanus (Günther, 1864), found south of the Himalayas. We provide combined genetic and morphological data for G. himalayanus from specimens collected from Himachal Pradesh, India. Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic analysis were performed on four concatenated mitochondrial genes, along with a multi-locus coalescent analysis of these and five additional nuclear genes. Our results indicate that G. himalayanus from the Chamba Valley, in western Himachal Pradesh, are highly distinct from the remaining studied populations. Haplotype networks of each nuclear locus showed that G. himalayanus contains high haplotype diversity with low haplotype sharing between the Chamba Valley population and populations from further west. Principal component analysis and canonical variate analysis conducted on morphological data of live and museum specimens also highlight the morphological distinctiveness of the Chamba population and we herein describe this population as a new species, Gloydius chambensis sp. nov. Recent descriptions of other new species of snakes from this valley underscores its isolation and suggests that further herpetological investigation of the highly dissected landscapes of the western Himalayas is needed to assess the true diversity of the region.

Western Himalayas, pitviper, multi-locus coalescent, Bayesian phylogenetics, multivariate morphometrics
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