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The genus Oxybelis currently is composed of four taxa despite numerous studies suggesting and describing multiple taxa within the O. aeneus complex. Here, we utilize a multilocus molecular dataset (i.e. cyt b, ND4, 12S, 16S, cmos, PRLR, 3663 bp) to conduct phylogenetic analyses to assess the evolutionary history of Oxybelis. Our molecular analyses find three major lineages of Oxybelis (i.e. O. aeneus complex, O. brevirostris, O. fulgidus complex) with a sister relationship between O. brevirostris and the O. aeneus complex to the exclusion of the O. fulgidus complex. More specifically, O. aeneus appears to harbor at least five taxa currently unrecognized while O. fulgidus was found to be paraphyletic with respect to O. wilsoni, suggesting cryptic diversity and novel taxa in that clade as well. Additionally, we use morphological data in concert with our molecular analyses and the literature to support removing Oxybelis microphthalmus Barbour and Amaral, 1926, Oxybelis potosiensis Taylor, 1941, and Dryophis vittatus Girard, 1854 from the synonymy of O. aeneus. Finally, we describe two new species from Central and northern South America.


Jadin, R.C., Blair, C., Orlofske, S.A. et al. Not withering on the evolutionary vine: systematic revision of the Brown Vine Snake (Reptilia: Squamata: Oxybelis) from its northern distribution. Org Divers Evol 20, 723–746 (2020).

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