Turkish Journal of Zoology




Previous studies on the distribution of the Ahaetulla snake across Indonesia only focused on morphological characters without any molecular data. This study was aimed at analyzing phylogenetic relationships among the genus Ahaetulla in Indonesia based on partial mitochondrial DNA sequences of 16 specimens collected from the Sundaland and Lesser Sunda regions. The 12S-rDNA gene was PCR-amplified and sequenced to analyze phylogenetic relationships and to estimate the divergence time between the 2 Ahaetulla populations of the Sundaland and Lesser Sunda regions. Morphological characters of 3 Ahaetulla specimens from Lesser Sunda and Sundaland have also been analyzed to confirm the results based on molecular markers. Both the phylogenetic analyses and morphological characters revealed the presence of 2 Ahaetulla species, A. mycterizans and A. prasina, in Sundaland as well as in the Lesser Sunda region. Previously, A. mycterizans was only known to exist in Sundaland. Its presence in the Lesser Sunda region is reported here for the first time. The divergence time estimations suggested the presence of A. mycterizans in Lesser Sunda had occurred during the Miocene, around 12.1 Ma. Consequently, this study has added A. mycterizans to the list of snakes that inhabit Lesser Sunda and revealed the need to initiate a survey in more detail to investigate the presence of A. mycterizans in other regions of Southeast Asia.


Ahaetulla mycterizans, Ahaetulla prasina, Lesser Sunda, phylogenetic, Sundaland

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