Higher-level phylogenetic affinities of the Neotropical genus Mastigodryas Amaral, 1934 (Serpentes: Colubridae), species-group definition and description of a new genus for Mastigodryas bifossatus

Most Neotropical colubrid snakes belong to a single, well-supported lineage. Relationships between the major constituents of this clade remain. Here, we explore the phylogenetic relationships of Mastigodryas and its affinities to other Neotropical colubrid genera by combining DNA and morphological data. Analyses demonstrate that the concatenation of multiple individuals into a single terminal can mask the detection of new taxa. Further, non-random missing data and/or taxa in some empirical datasets can bias species tree analyses more than concatenation approaches. Our results place Mastigodryas in a strongly supported clade that includes Drymarchon, Rhinobothryum, Drymoluber, Simophis and Leptodrymus. Mastigodryas bifossatus is more closely related to species of Drymoluber and Simophis than to its congeners. Thus, we erect a new genus to accommodate it and recover a monophyletic Mastigodryas. We highlight the importance of the use of morphological characters to diagnose suprageneric clades by showing that some key external and hemipenial characteristics are phylogenetically informative.
Keywords
colubridae;  molecular;  morphology;  Nearctic;  Neotropical;  phylogeny

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Montingelli GG., Grazziotin FG, Battilana J, Murphy RW., Zhang Y-P, Zaher H. Higher-level phylogenetic affinities of the Neotropical genus Mastigodryas Amaral, 1934 (Serpentes: Colubridae), species-group definition and description of a new genus for Mastigodryas bifossatus. J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res.. 2019 May;57(2):205-239. doi:10.1111/jzs.12262.
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