Amphibia-Reptilia 29 (2008): 61-70 Evidence for post-natal instability of head scalation in the meadow viper ( Vipera ursinii ) – patterns and taxonomic implications Ljiljana Tomovi ´ c 1,2, ∗ , Miguel Angel Carretero 3 , Rastko Ajti ´ c 4 , Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailovi ´ c 2 Abstract. In Squamates, head meristic characters are commonly used in analyses of intraspecific variability, systematics and phylogeny. Taxonomic significance of head scales is based on the assumption that discrete values of particular scales are set at birth and stable during individual ontogeny. In this paper, we analysed ontogenic changes of head scalation in a population of meadow viper ( Vipera ursinii ), based on multiple recaptures of marked individuals. Our results show that changes of cephalic scales occur both in immatures and in adults; the frequency of occurrence of change in the sample of re-photographed individuals was 52.2%. Oligomerisation was the most frequent change, found in 39.1% of re-photographed individuals. Changes in shape of cephalic plates as well as polymerisation were recorded in 30.4% of re-photographed individuals. Results of the log-linear analyses indicated no relation either between scale change and sex or between scale change and growth. Although we do not
Amphibia-Reptilia – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: HEAD SCALATION; BALKANS; VIPERA URSINII; TAXONOMY; ONTOGENY
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