A New Miocene-Divergent Lineage of Old World Racer Snake from India

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 2;11(3):e0148380. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148380. eCollection 2016.


A distinctive early Miocene-divergent lineage of Old world racer snakes is described as a new genus and species based on three specimens collected from the western Indian state of Gujarat. Wallaceophis gen. et. gujaratenesis sp. nov. is a members of a clade of old world racers. The monotypic genus represents a distinct lineage among old world racers is recovered as a sister taxa to Lytorhynchus based on ~3047bp of combined nuclear (cmos) and mitochondrial molecular data (cytb, ND4, 12s, 16s). The snake is distinct morphologically in having a unique dorsal scale reduction formula not reported from any known colubrid snake genus. Uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence for nuclear gene cmos between Wallaceophis gen. et. gujaratenesis sp. nov. other members of the clade containing old world racers and whip snake is 21-36%.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colubridae / classification*
  • Colubridae / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • India
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Grants and funding

The authors have no support or funding to report.