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Phylogeographic analysis of the cornsnake (Elaphe guttata) complex as inferred from maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses

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Most phylogeographic studies have used maximum likelihood or maximum parsimony to infer phylogeny and bootstrap analysis to evaluate support for trees. Recently, Bayesian methods using Marlov chain Monte Carlo to search tree space and simultaneously estimate tree support have become popular due to its fast search speed and ability to create a posterior distribution of parameters of interest. Here, I present a study that utilizes Bayesian methods to infer phylogenetic relationships of the cornsnake (Elaphe guttata) complex using cytochrome b sequences. Examination of the posterior probability distributions confirms the existence of three geographic lineages. Additionally, there is no support for the monophyly of the subspecies of E. guttata. Results suggest the three geographic lineages partially conform to the ranges of previously defined subspecies, although Shimodaira–Hasegawa tests suggest that subspecies-constrained trees produce significantly poorer likelihood estimates than the most likely trees reflecting the evolution of three geographic assemblages. Based on molecular support, these three geographic assemblages are recognized as species using evolutionary species criteria: E. guttata,Elaphe slowinskii, and Elaphe emoryi [phylogeographic, maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony, bootstrap, Bayesian, Markov chain Monte Carlo, cornsnake, Cytochrome b, geographic lineages, E. guttta, E. slowinskii, and E. emoryi].

© 2002 Elsevier Science (USA)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00306-8

Publication date: December 1, 2002

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