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RE: C. bottae taxonomy

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Posted by: RichardFHoyer at Sun Nov 30 00:04:10 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by RichardFHoyer ]  

There are three 'trees' in Javier's paper. If I am following your process correctly, in Fig. 3A, specimen #26 would be the ancestral type for all boas in the Sierra Nevada subclade. In Fig. 3B, specimen #26 would be the ancestral type for all Sierra Nevada and Northwestern subclade boas. In Fig. 4, it would appear that specimens #15, 17, 18, and 19 are the ancestral types for all Sierra Nevada and Northwestern subclade boas. But of course, I may not be interpreting those figures in the manner you indicate.

But if I am, then it would appear that the Calabar and/or Rosy Boa are the ancestral types to the Rubber Boa.

Just because #26 branched off earlier and thus is older than the other specimens, I do not understand just why her lineage and not some other ancestral type, now extinct or still in existence but just haven't been found and tested, may have given rise to the other lineages in the tree.

A good number of years ago, I was surprised at the lack of representation in mtDNA studies. When I questioned that point, I was told that such representation was not necessary as new samples from the same region did not materially add to results. I am now of the opinion that I was correct all along, that inadequate representation can often lead to erroneous interpretations of the results obtained from such studies.

Interpretations are made on the basis that the samples tested are seemingly the last word and thus finite. Rick's study has demonstrate that is not the case and I venture to say that the current study also lacks adequate representation in a number of regions. Seemingly not taken into account is that there may be a good number of closely related or identical haplotypes of specimens #26 that may occur north, south, east, and west of where #26 originated near Camp Nelson. Without having much larger sample size and geographical representation, to interpret that this or that population migrated in any direction is premature to my way of thinking.

Concerning the distribution of the two size morphs, my sample size from the Tehachapi Mts. and Breckenridge Mt. are large enough to assert that like the San Bernardino boa population, those two populations are also of the dwarf morph. But besides having an adequate sample size, there are other clues that indicate whether the boas from any particular region belong to the dwarf or large morph phenotype.

The maximum and mean lengths of neonates of litters produced is one clue. The lengths of mature individuals is another. The lengths at which males and females attain maturity is another. And the rate of growth over time is another. For the populations in which I lack an adequate sample, some of the above clues indicate that the population of boas in the Mt. Pinos area, in the Scodie Mts., in the Greenhorn Mts. south of Alta Sierra all in Kern County, and on the Southern Kern Plateau in Tulare County are all of the dwarf form. Then by geographical proximity, one would expect the dwarf form to occur in the Piute Mts., Alamo Mt., Frazier Mt., Sawmill Mt. and Mt. Abel where the species has been documented in Kern County and the San Jacinto Mts. of Riverside County.

Until some nuclear markers are found, I believe it is not plausible to determine with any certainty just where a mixture of dwarf and large morph genotypes exists.

Richard F. Hoyer


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