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Within-island geographic variation of the dangerous Taiwanese snake, Trimeresurus stejnegeri, in relation to ecology
- CASTELLANO, SERGIO, MALHOTRA, ANITA, THORPE, ROGER S.
- Biological journal of the Linnean Society 1994 v.52 no.4 pp. 365-375
- Trimeresurus, altitude, ecology, geographical variation, head, multivariate analysis, rain, snakes, temperature
- Multivariate analysis shows that geographic variation occurs in the scalation and body proportions of the dangerously venomous snake Tritneresurus stejnegeri, within the island of Taiwan. Canonical correlation analysis reveals a high correlation between constellations of morphological characters and ecological factors. Numerical hypothesis testing, using partial Mantel tests, provides evidence of a causal relationship with ecology. Head shape was found to be primarily associated with mean annual temperature and altitude, and head scalation with the annual range of temperature. Body scalation was found to be influenced by altitude, mean annual temperature and mean annual rainfall. Tail length is primarily associated with the range of temperature and rainfall and secondarily with the mean annual temperature and altitude. Geographic proximity was found to be less important in the explanation of the observed geographic pattern than some ecological factors, supporting the hypothesis of an ecogenetic origin of morphological variation.