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Evaluating taxonomic inflation: towards evidence-based species delimitation in Eurasian vipers (Serpentes: Viperinae)

Freitas, Inês and Ursenbacher, Sylvain and Mebert, Konrad and Zinenko, Oleksandr and Schweiger, Silke and Wuster, Wolfgang and Brito, José C. and Crnobrnja-Isailović, Jelka and Halpern, Bálint and Fahd, Soumia and Santos, Xavier and Pleguezuelos, Juan M. and Joger, Ulrich and Orlov, Nikolay and Mizsei, Edvárd and Lourdais, Olivier and Zuffi, Marco A. L. and Strugariu, Alexandru and Zamfirescu, Ştefan Remus and Martínez-Solano, Íñigo and Velo-Antón, Guillermo and Kaliontzopoulou, Antigoni and Martínez-Freiría, Fernando. (2020) Evaluating taxonomic inflation: towards evidence-based species delimitation in Eurasian vipers (Serpentes: Viperinae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 41 (3). pp. 285-311.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/80313/

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Abstract

The designation of taxonomic units has important implications for the understanding and conservation of biodiversity. Eurasian vipers are a monophyletic group of viperid snakes (Serpentes, Viperinae), currently comprising four genera (Daboia, Macrovipera, Montivipera and tipera) and up to 40 species. Taxonomic units have been described using a wide variety of methods and criteria, and consequently, considerable controversy still surrounds the validity of some currently listed species. In order to promote a consensus- and evidence-based taxonomy of Eurasian vipers, we analysed published mito chondria! and nuclear DNA sequences for this group to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among currently recognized viper species. We also compiled information on external morphology to assess their morphological distinctiveness. Phylogenetic inference based on mtDNA sequences shows contrasting levels of divergence across genera and species and identifies several instances of non-monophyly in described species. Nuclear DNA sequences show extremely low levels of genetic variation, with a widespread pattern of allele sharing among distant species, and even among genera. Revision of morphological data shows that most species designations rely on scalation traits that overlap extensively among species of the same genus. Based on our combined assessment, we recognize 15 taxa as valid species, three taxa which likely represent species complexes, 17 taxa of doubtful validity as species, and live taxa for which species status is maintained but further research is highly recommended to assess taxonomic arrangements. We stress the need to implement integrative taxonomic approaches for the recognition of evidence-based taxonomic units in Eurasian vipers.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Naturschutzbiologie (Baur)
UniBasel Contributors:Ursenbacher, Sylvain
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Further Journal Contribution
Publisher:Brill
ISSN:0173-5373
e-ISSN:1568-5381
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal item
Identification Number:
Last Modified:14 Apr 2021 09:38
Deposited On:14 Apr 2021 09:38

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