Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina

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McCartney-Melstad E.,Columbia University | McCartney-Melstad E.,American Museum of Natural History | Waller T.,Fundacion Biodiversidad Argentina | Micucci P.A.,Fundacion Biodiversidad Argentina | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Yellow anacondas (Eunectes notaeus) are large, semiaquatic boid snakes found in wetland systems in South America. These snakes are commercially harvested under a sustainable management plan in Argentina, so information regarding population structuring can be helpful for determination of management units. We evaluated genetic structure and migration using partial sequences from the mitochondrial control region and mitochondrial genes cyt-b and ND4 for 183 samples collected within northern Argentina. A group of landscape features and environmental variables including several treatments of temperature and precipitation were explored as potential drivers of observed genetic patterns. We found significant population structure between most putative population comparisons and bidirectional but asymmetric migration in several cases. The configuration of rivers and wetlands was found to be significantly associated with yellow anaconda population structure (IBD), and important for gene flow, although genetic distances were not significantly correlated with the environmental variables used here. More in-depth analyses of environmental data may be needed to fully understand the importance of environmental conditions on population structure and migration. These analyses indicate that our putative populations are demographically distinct and should be treated as such in Argentina's management plan for the harvesting of yellow anacondas. © 2012 McCartney-Melstad et al.

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