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Posted by troy h on January 30, 2003 at 16:06:26:
i have completely read over the following paper:
Burbink, F.T., Lawson, R., and Slowinski, J.B. 2000. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography of the polytypic North American rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta): a critique of the subspecies concept. Evolution, 54(6): 2107-2118.
and no where in it do the authors describe any new species. they do write the following:
"Because the subspecies studied here do not conform to the molecular-based phylogeny of this species, it is recommended that they be eliminated from the taxonomy of this group. In light of the mtDNA data presented here, it is possible [emphasis mine] that the three geographically distinct clades of E. obsoleta and the single clade of E. bairdi represent four distinct evolutionary lineages and thus constitute distinct species. The cytochrome b genetic distances between clades are within the range of genetic distances between closely related species of reptiles (reviewed in Johns and Avise 1998). Taxonomic recommendations will be discussed elsewhere following evaluations of morphometric data [again, emphasis mine]."
My question is, has anyone read the paper that made these taxonomic recommendations? CNAH cites it as follows:
"Burbrink (2001 Herpetological Monographs 15: 1-53), using external morphology, demonstrated that some eastern U.S. populations of this snake, including E. quadrivittata and E. rossalleni, actually consist of a distinct species, Elaphe alleghaniensis (Holbrook, 1836). The standard common name for Elaphe alleghaniensis is Eastern Rat Snake."
is this also available in .pdf format so that I could peruse it?
finally, CNAH lists the following as a "panel of systematists" that evaluated the validity of this name change. any names on the list suggest a "stacked deck"?
"Collins & Taggart (2002 Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians. Fifth Edition) submitted for consideration the proposals by Burbrink, Lawson, & Slowinski (2000 op. cit.) and Burbrink (2001 op. cit.) to a snake systematist group composed of Frank T. Burbrink, Jeff Camper, Harry W. Greene, L. Lee Grismer, Robin Lawson, James R. McCranie, Andrew H. Price, Javier Rodriguez-Robles, and Samuel S. Sweet, and they agreed."
(i know, i'm like an old dog chewing the bone until its no more - LOL)