Project 961: J. C. Olori, C. J. Bell. 2012. Comparative Skull Morphology of Uropeltid Snakes (Alethinophidia: Uropeltidae) with Special Reference to Disarticulated Elements and Variation. PLOS ONE. 7 (3):online.
Specimen: Uropeltis woodmasoni (TMM/M:10006)

Abstract

Uropeltids form a diverse clade of highly derived, fossorial snakes that, because of their phylogenetic position among other alethinophidian lineages, may play a key role in understanding the early evolution of cranial morphology in snakes. We include detailed osteological descriptions of crania and mandibles for eight uropeltid species from three nominal genera (Uropeltis, Rhinophis, and Brachyophidium) and emphasize disarticulated elements and the impact of intraspecific variation on previously proposed morphological characters used for phylogenetic analysis. Preliminary analysis of phylogenetic relationships strongly supports a clade composed exclusively of species of Plectrurus, Uropeltis, and Rhinophis. However, monophyly of each of those genera and Melanophidium is not upheld. There is moderate support that Sri Lankan species (e.g., Rhinophis and Uropeltis melanogaster) are monophyletic with respect to Indian uropeltids. Previously proposed characters that are phylogenetically informative include the shape of the nasals, length of the occipital condyle, level of development of the posteroventral process of the dentary, and participation of the parietal in the optic foramen. Additionally, thirty new features that may be systematically informative are identified and described, but were not verified for their utility. Such verification must await availability of additional disarticulated cranial material from a larger sample of taxa. All characters require further testing through increased focus on sources and patterns of intraspecific variation, inclusion of broader taxonomic samples in comparative studies, and exploration of skeletal development, sexual dimorphism, and biogeographic patterns. Additionally, trends in the relative enlargement of the sensory capsules, reduction in cranial ossification and dentition, fusion of elements, and the appearance of novel morphological conditions, such as the structure and location of the suspensorium, may be related to fossoriality and miniaturization in some uropeltid taxa, and may complicate analysis of relationships within Uropeltidae and among alethinophidian snakes.


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Article DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0032450

Project DOI: 10.7934/P961, http://dx.doi.org/10.7934/P961
This project containsMatrices
  • 2 Media
  • 1 Matrix
  • 24 Taxa
  • 22 Specimens
  • 33 Characters


Download Project SDD File
Total scored cells: 780
Total media associated with cells: 0
Total labels associated with cell media: 0
Characters
Total characters: 33
Total characters with associated media: 0
Total characters with media with labels: 0
Total character states: 73
Total character states with associated media: 0
Total character states with media with labels:0
Total unordered/ordered characters:33/0
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MorphoBank Project 961

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    • University of Texas at Austin



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    MorphoBank Curator
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    Last logged in 08/06/14
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    Maureen Admin
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    Jennifer Olori
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    Last logged in 07/16/13
    1120000000
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    Taxonomic Overview for Matrix 'M2146' (24 Taxa)

    taxon unscored
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    [1] Anilius
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0333300003
    [2] Cylindrophis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0343300003
    [3] Anomochilus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1333200003
    [4] Melanophidium punctatum
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1333200003
    [5] Melanophidium wynaudensis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0343300003
    [6] Platyplecturus madurensis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    2323100003
    [7] Uropeltis woodmasoni bmnh 1930.5.8.73-74
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0333300003
    [8] Brachyophidium rhodogaster bmnh 1930.5.8.98
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0333300003
    [9] Rhinophis drummondhayi bmnh 1930.5.8.67-68[b]
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0333300003
    [10] Rhinophis sanguineus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1323200003
    [11] Plectrurus perrotetii
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0343300003
    [12] Pseudotyphlops philippinus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0333300003
    [13] Plectrurus aureus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0333300003
    [14] Uropeltis woodmasoni
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    0393300003
    [15] Brachyophidium rhodogaster
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1383200003
    [16] Uropeltis rubramaculatis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    2323100003
    [17] Uropeltis melanogaster tmm m-10045
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    5292800003
    [18] Uropeltis melanogaster
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    6282700003
    [19] Rhinophis blythi
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    3313000003
    [20] Uropeltis sp.
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    2313100003
    [21] Rhinophis philippinus?
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    1323200003
    [22] Rhinophis philippinus
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    3303000003
    [23] Rhinophis homolepis
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    3303000003
    [24] Rhinophis drummondhayi
    Last Modified in 12/05/13
    3303000003


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    Media views4841Media search (3813 views); M287381 (497 views); M287380 (531 views);
    Specimen list11611
    Taxon list5505
    Bibliography820




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