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The Origins and Diversification of the Exceptionally Rich Gemsnakes (Colubroidea: Lamprophiidae: Pseudoxyrhophiinae) in Madagascar

Burbrink, F; Ruane, S; Kuhn, A; Rabibisoa, N; Randriamahatantsoa, B; Raselimanana, AP; Andrianarimalala, MSM; ... Raxworthy, CJ; + view all (2019) The Origins and Diversification of the Exceptionally Rich Gemsnakes (Colubroidea: Lamprophiidae: Pseudoxyrhophiinae) in Madagascar. Systematic Biology , 68 (6) pp. 918-936. 10.1093/sysbio/syz026. Green open access

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Abstract

Processes leading to spectacular diversity of both form and species on islands have been well documented under island biogeography theory, where distance from source and island size are key factors determining immigration and extinction resistance. But far less understood are the processes governing in-situ diversification on the world’s mega islands, where large and isolated land masses produced morphologically distinct radiations from related taxa on continental regions. Madagascar has long been recognized as a natural laboratory due to its isolation, lack of influence from adjacent continents, and diversification of spectacular vertebrate radiations. However, only a handful of studies have examined rate shifts of in-situ diversification for this island. Here we examine rates of diversification in the Malagasy snakes of the family Pseudoxyrhophiinae (gemsnakes) to understand if rates of speciation were initially high, enhanced by diversification into distinct biomes, and associated with key dentition traits. Using a genomic sequence-capture dataset for 366 samples, we determine that all previously described and newly discovered species are delimitable and therefore useful candidates for understanding diversification trajectories through time. Our analysis detected no shifts in diversification rate between clades or changes in biome or dentition type. Remarkably, we demonstrate that rates of diversification of the gemsnake radiation, which originated in Madagascar during the early Miocene, remained steady throughout the Neogene. However, we did detect a significant slowdown in diversification during the Pleistocene. We also comment on the apparent paradox where most living species originated in the Pleistocene, despite diversification rates being substantially higher during the earlier 15 million years.

Type: Article
Title: The Origins and Diversification of the Exceptionally Rich Gemsnakes (Colubroidea: Lamprophiidae: Pseudoxyrhophiinae) in Madagascar
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/sysbio/syz026
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syz026
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Pseudoxyrhophiinae, gemsnakes, island biogeography, in situ diversification, speciation, Neogene
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075602
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