A phylogeny and genus-level revision of the African file snakes Gonionotophis Boulenger (Squamata: Lamprophiidae)
Broadley, Donald G.
Tolley, Krystal A.
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The sub-Saharan African file snake genus Gonionotophis is currently comprised of 15 species. However, the concept of this genus has been confounded by morphological and genetic differences between the constituent taxa. Due to the dearth of DNA samples, a taxonomic assessment has been impractical to date. We therefore sequenced two mitochondrial and one nuclear marker (16S, cyt b , and c-mos) from 45 samples representing ten species of Gonionotophis to construct a molecular phylogeny using Bayesian and likelihood approaches. Four divergent and well- supported clades were recovered, including: (1) grantii + brussauxi ; (2) poensis + stenophthalmus ; (3) nyassae ; and (4) capensis , chanleri , crossi , guirali and savorgnani . Based on these results and morphological data, the genus Gonionotophis is restricted to the first clade, Mehelya is resurrected for the species in the second clade, and new genera are described for the remaining two clades