We investigated the phylogenetic status and pattern of geographic variation in Rhabdophis lateralis on the basis of samples from across continental China, southeastern Russia, and the Korean Peninsula. The results confirmed the monophyly of the species and also revealed its extremely low genetic divergence. The population genetic analyses suggested that such low intraspecific divergence may reflect recent rapid population growth from a small ancestral population, extensive gene flow, or both. We conclude that R. lateralis is a good species, as suggested by our previous study, which analyzed fewer continental samples from a more limited range.
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Vol. 33 • No. 2