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RE: C. bottae taxonomy

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Posted by: CKing at Tue Nov 25 21:57:27 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by CKing ]  

>>The Mt. Pinos population (only one sample tested) aligned with the Northern Clade (Sierra Nevada subclade). No samples have been tested from nearby boa populations also known to occur west of I-5 on Mt. Abel, Alamo Mt., Sawmill Mt., and Frazier Mt.

As my other post suggests, these populations are likely to be dwarf morph and descended from Tulare County dwarf morph population #26 in Rodriguez-Robles et al.'s sample, or alternatively, from the other Tulare County population with the umbratica haplotype.

>>The other intriguing aspect involved in the taxonomy of Charina bottae is the discovery of a reasonably distinctive dwarf form of the species that occurs throughout S. Calif. This is the project I have been working on for the past 10 years or thereabouts. Populations of the dwarf morph that belong to the Southern Clade occur in the San Bernardino and assumed to occur in the San Jacinto Mts. although that population has never been studied. >>

Yes, Richard, this is your invaluable contribution to the taxonomy of this species and genus. Without this information, Charina bottae taxonomy would be a big mess.

>>I now have reasonable evidence that the boa population on the southern Kern Plateau also are of the dwarf form which has now been identified as belonging to the Southern Clade. >>

Good to hear that.

>>The Northern Clade (Sierra Nevada subclade) contains boa populations that are of the dwarf morph and large morph.>>

As currently defined, yes. But I believe it would be a good idea to delineate species and subspecies on the basis of morphology rather than mtDNA haplotype. Hence it would be a good idea to align the dwarf morph boas of the Kern County/Tulare County area with umbratica, and classify the Sierra Nevada large morph populations as a separate subspecies, in effect, splitting the Sierra Nevada subclade into two.

>>It is now my view that somewhere in Tulare and Inyo Counties, there likely are large morph boas that belong to the Southern Clade.
>>Richard F. Hoyer

That certainly is possible. Convergent evolution does occur. The Sierra Nevada large morph and the Northwestern subclade probably evolved their large morph phenotypes convergently and independently of each other. And the Rosy Boa is almost certainly a large morph descendant of a small morph rubber boa population that has taken refuge in northern Baja California during a period of severe climate that made most of southern California inhospitable to the small morph rubber boa. Not coincidentally, the unicolored form of the Rosy Boa occurs rather close geographically to the likely northern Baja California origin of the Rosy Boa, and the unicolored form of the Rosy Boa is also morphologically much closer to the Rubber Boa than the lined forms. Hence large morph snakes may have evolved at least 2-3 times from small morph ancestors in Charina bottae.

It appears to me that the boas occurring in Kern and Tulare Counties (within the area occupied by L. z. multifasciata) are of the dwarf morph variety, whereas the boas occurring within the range of L. z. multicincta in the Sierra Nevada to the north are large morph. Therefore we are seeing a L. z. multifasciata/small morph C. bottae and a L. z. multicincta/large morph C. bottae association. L. z. multicincta and L. z. zonata form a broad hybrid zone in the northern Sierra Nevada and the mountains to the north and west, but there appears to be little if any overlap between Northwestern subclade C. bottae and large morph Sierra Nevada C. bottae in the same area. It is intriguing how closely the distributions of these two species mirror each other in some instances, and how different they are in other instances.


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