PS 83-124
Identification of the Yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) through the use of molecular systematics

Friday, August 9, 2013
Exhibit Hall B, Minneapolis Convention Center
Christina N. de Jesus-Villanueva, Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Humacao, PR
Evan Mc Cartney-Melstread, American Museum of Natural History
George Amato, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

The Yellow anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) has been an important part of the skin trade in Argentina. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. To improve our ability to detect, monitor and control the trade in wildlife and wildlife products, more accurate and efficient methods of species identification are required.  As an aid to species identification, DNA barcoding has been proposed. In this study we use phylogenetic tools on cytB and ND4 sequence data of E. notaeus to test the feasibility of molecular identification of the species in the context of the Boidae and Pythonidae families. Collection of Eunectes notaeus blood and skin samples was done in northern Argentina. We compared cyt-b and ND4 sequences of E.notaeus with specimens of  Epicrates, Corallus, Boa constrictor and Candoia species and constructed Maximum likelihood and Neighbour joining trees. Additionally, we  consctructed a caracter matrix to compared cyt-b and ND4 sequences polymorphism within the different populations of E. notaeus.  


We found that trees are useful tools in identifying the relationship of E.notaeus  to other boid species.We found fixed characters for some putative populations of Eunectes in northern Argentina.