Discipline: Biological Sciences
Daniel Cueva - New Mexico Highlands University
Co-Author(s): Jesus Rivas and Sarah Corey-Rivas, New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM
Eunectes beniensis (Dirksen, 2002) is a poorly studied and recently described anaconda species native to the Beni province, Bolivia. Originally thought to be a hybrid between E. murinus and E. notaeus due to the overlap in range between the two in the Beni province, Dirksen & Bohme (2005) disputed this theory and described it as a new species of anaconda utilizing solely physical characteristics and scale counts from five individuals (four males and one female). Yet to this date, no one has disputed this claim or attempted to assess molecular data in order to validate E. beniensis as in fact a species, or the result of hybridization. E. deschaeunseei (Dunn & Conant, 1936) represents another poorly studied anaconda species which is found on Ilha do Marajó (Marajó Island) located at the mouth of the Amazon river in Brazil. Asides from the holotype De Schauensee’s anaconda given to the Philadelphia zoo, and minimal recent mentions of the species on snake assemblages of Marajó Island, almost nothing is known about the species. This research’s intention to sequence several nuclear and mitochondrial markers of both species, and compare to known sequences of E. murinus & E. notaeus in order to better understand the Eunectes genus and reevaluate species status. By completing the phylogeny of Eunectes and comparing it to their known closest lineages, Epicrates in South America, and Chilabothrus in insular Caribbean, it is the author’s intentions to create a more accurate representation of Neotropical boid phylogeny.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Currently not sure. Still applying for additional funding, so this could change.
Faculty Advisor: Jesus Rivas, Rivas@nmhu.edu
Role: I was involved in the sequencing of anaconda DNA, and locating relevant primers which would be useful in analyzing and determining speciation within the Eunectes group.