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    P2: Herpetology: Systematics

    2021-07-27   16:00 - 18:00

    To view the posters go to You will be able to chat one-on-one during the Tuesday poster session, the e-poster platform.

    1.  16:00  Phylogenetics and Integrative Taxonomy of African Water Snakes (Squamata: Colubridae: Grayia). Teslin Chaney*, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso; Olivier Pauwels, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; Zoltán Nagy, Independent Researcher; Václav Gvoždík, Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Biology; Chifundera Kusamba, Laboratoire d’Hérpétologie, Département de Biologie, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles; Gabriel Badjedjea, Department of Ecology and Aquatic Biodiversity, Biodiversity Monitoring Centre, University of Kisangani; Franck Masudi, Department of Ecology and Biodiversity of Earth Resources, Centre de Surveillance de la Biodiversité of the University of Kisangani; Raffael Ernst, Museum of Zoology, Senckenberg Natural History Collections Dresden; Eli Greenbaum, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso

    Grayia is a genus of relatively large Afrotropical water snakes that is currently comprised of four recognized species. These snakes superficially resemble natricines and even water cobras. Molecular phylogenies have failed to closely associate them with any clear sister taxon. Because this genus has a history of limited sampling and is generally understudied, the relationships within Grayia are poorly known. Due to morphological conservatism, identification is often difficult and previous studies involving Grayia included misidentified specimens. The goal of this study is to build a phylogenetic tree that reconciles the current taxonomy of Grayia, using an integrative taxonomic approach that combines molecular and morphological data. Two nuclear (BDNF and NT3) and four mitochondrial genes (COI, cyt b, 16S and ND4) were used to construct a phylogenetic tree with Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods; outgroups included the genera Calamaria and Sibynophis. Preliminary trees suggest G. ornata and G. smithii are sister taxa, whereas G. caesar (originally described as the sole member of the genus Xenurophis) is sister to G. tholloni.

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