UK Has A New Species Of Snake

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UK Has A New Species Of Snake

#1  Postby Calilasseia » Aug 07, 2017 6:08 pm

From the BBC, via this news item ...

A new type of snake has been discovered in the UK, bringing the total number of species to four.

Scientists say the barred grass snake, Natrix helvetica, is actually a different species to the common or eastern grass snake, Natrix natrix.

Before, it was thought the grass snake was one species with several subspecies that looked slightly different.

The others native to the UK are the smooth snake and the adder, which is venomous.

Apparently, the finding are the result of DNA analysis by the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany.

Professor Uwe Fritz said: "We discovered that the barred grass snake, previously considered a subspecies, is in fact a distinct species.

"We now have to pay close attention to which species of grass snake is involved in each case, in order to be able to assess whether one of them may be more threatened than previously thought."

More on this from here, and there's a paper to accompany the finding, available here ...

Hybridization Patterns In Two Contact Zones Of Grass Snakes Reveal A New Central European Snake Species by Carolin Kindler, Maxime Chèvre, Sylvain Ursenbacher, Wolfgang Böhme, Axel Hille, Daniel Jablonski, Melita Vamberger & Uwe Fritz, Scientific Reports, 7: Article number: 7378 (2017) DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-07847-9

Kindler et al, 2017 wrote:Abstract

Recent studies found major conflicts between traditional taxonomy and genetic differentiation of grass snakes and identified previously unknown secondary contact zones. Until now, little is known about gene flow across these contact zones. Using two mitochondrial markers and 13 microsatellite loci, we examined two contact zones. One, largely corresponding to the Rhine region, involves the western subspecies Natrix natrix helvetica and the eastern subspecies N. n. natrix, whereas in the other, more easterly, contact zone two lineages meet that are currently identified with N. n. natrix and N. n. persa. This second contact zone runs across Central Europe to the southern Balkans. Our analyses reveal that the western contact zone is narrow, with parapatrically distributed mitochondrial lineages and limited, largely unidirectional nuclear gene flow. In contrast, the eastern contact zone is very wide, with massive nuclear admixture and broadly overlapping mitochondrial lineages. In combination with additional lines of evidence (morphology, phylogeny, divergence times), we conclude that these differences reflect different stages in the speciation process and that Natrix helvetica should be regarded as a distinct species. We suggest a nomenclatural framework for presently recognized grass snake taxa and highlight the need for reconciling the conflicts between genetics and taxonomy.

Free PDF download of the paper from the journal available here.
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Re: UK Has A New Species Of Snake

#2  Postby tuco » Aug 07, 2017 6:32 pm

Užovka :) Havent seen one in quite a while.

From the pdf:

Code: Select all
Current taxonomy - proposed taxonomy
Natrix natrix helvetica - Natrix helvetica helvetica
Natrix natrix cetti - Natrix helvetica cetti
Natrix natrix corsa - Natrix helvetica corsa
Natrix natrix lanzai - Natrix helvetica lanzai
Natrix natrix sicula - Natrix helvetica sicula
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