Contrasting patterns of gene flow for Amazonian snakes that actively forage and those that wait in ambush

Rafael De Fraga*, Albertina P. Lima, William E. Magnusson, Miquéias Ferrão, Adam J. Stow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge of genetic structure, geographic distance and environmental heterogeneity can be used to identify environmental features and natural history traits that influence dispersal and gene flow. Foraging mode is a trait that might predict dispersal capacity in snakes, because actively foragers typically have greater movement rates than ambush predators. Here, we test the hypothesis that 2 actively foraging snakes have higher levels of gene flow than 2 ambush predators. We evaluated these 4 co-distributed species of snakes in the Brazilian Amazon. Snakes were sampled along an 880 km transect from the central to the southwest of the Amazon basin, which covered a mosaic of vegetation types and seasonal differences in climate. We analyzed thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms to compare patterns of neutral gene flow based on isolation by geographic distance (IBD) and environmental resistance (IBR). We show that IBD and IBR were only evident in ambush predators, implying lower levels of dispersal than the active foragers. Therefore, gene flow was high enough in the active foragers analyzed here to prevent any build-up of spatial genotypic structure with respect to geographic distance and environmental heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-534
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • dispersal
  • isolation by distance
  • isolation by resistance
  • landscape genomics
  • SNPs

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