Arrhyton Günther, 1858

Hedges, Blair, Couloux, Arnaud & Vidal, Nicolas, 2009, Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of West Indian racer snakes of the Tribe Alsophiini (Squamata, Dipsadidae, Xenodontinae), Zootaxa 2067, pp. 1-28: 20

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Arrhyton Günther, 1858


Genus Arrhyton Günther, 1858 

Type species. Arrhyton taeniatum Günther, 1858: 244  .

Diagnosis. See diagnosis for the subtribe Arrhytonina.

Content. Eight species are included in the genus ( Table 1).

Distribution. The genus is distributed throughout Cuba ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2).

Remarks. Species of Arrhyton  ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3 G) are small (448 mm, maximum SVL) racers. An informal classification of Cuban Arrhyton  was based on color pattern and scalation, especially ventral and subcaudal counts ( Schwartz & Garrido 1981; Hedges & Garrido 1992). The most distinct species, morphologically, is A. taeniatum  , because it lacks a loreal scale, has an enlarged rostral (presumably related to semi-fossorial habits), and has a boldly striped pattern. It was placed in its own species group ( taeniatum  Group) and the sequence evidence ( Figs. 1View FIGURE 1. A and 4View FIGURE 4. A), although missing A. ainictum  , shows it to be the sister group of all other species of Arrhyton  . The three species having high ventral scale counts and long tails ( A. dolichura  , A. procerum  , and A. tanyplectum  ), were placed together in the dolichura  Group, also supported by DNAAbout DNA evidence ( Fig. 1View FIGURE 1. A). The remaining species, with lower ventral counts and relatively short tails, were placed in a separate group, the vittatum  Group, though this is resolved (without maximal support) as paraphyletic in our phylogeny.


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