Geographical variation in the genus Dendrelaphis (Serpentes: Colubridae) within the islands of south-eastern Indonesia

R.A. How, Linc Schmitt, - Maharadatunkamsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The south-eastern islands of Indonesia between Bali in the west and Timer in the east define a region that is at the interface of the Asian and Australasian biogeographic regions. Three subspecies of the colubrid snake Dendrelaphis pictus have previously been recognized from the region: Dendrelaphis pictus pictus (Bah and Lombok); D. p. inornatus (Sumba to Timer); and D. p. intermedius (Sumbawa to Alor). A re-examination of Dendrelaphis pictus in this region uses multivariate statistics to examine the geographic variation in head-shield and body measurements within the species. The findings re-interpret the taxonomy, indicating that D. pictus from Bah and Lombok are specifically different from D. inornatus on the remaining islands on the Banda Arc. The populations of D. inornatus on the islands of Sumbawa, Sumba, Sawu, Flores, and Lembata are subspecifically different from those on Roti, Semau, Timer, Alor, and Wetar.Several head-shield measures are strongly correlated with longitude within D. inornatus, suggesting environmentally triggered selection gradients. However, for many variables, the two subspecies differ significantly in the direction of the trends which suggests the subspecies respond differently to these environmental gradients. There is evidence that Dendrelaphis individuals may be transported through the islands by anthropogenic agencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-363
JournalJournal of Zoology
Volume238
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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