Concordant phylogeographic patterns among species indicate similar ecological and/or evolutionary histories. A concordant phylogeographic pattern exists among two fossorial skinks inhabiting Florida scrub habitat on the Lake Wales Ridge in central Florida. We evaluate whether the Peninsula Crowned Snake (Tantilla relicta relicta), a fossorial species similarly adapted to xeric upland habitats in central Florida, follows the same phylogeographic pattern. We collected 51 Peninsula Crowned Snakes from 13 sites on the Lake Wales Ridge. The sites spanned Josephine Creek, a location identified as a potential phylogeographic break-point for the species studied previously. We screened the genetic variation of a portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene and the mitochondrial control region. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the Peninsula Crowned Snake has central and southern groups, which is similar, yet not identical, to other reptiles on the Lake Wales Ridge. Tests of differentiation detected population structure among three Peninsula Crowned Snake populations within 10 km of Archbold Biological Station. Our results support the presence of at least two major phylogeographic segments for scrub reptiles on the Lake Wales Ridge and suggest that the Peninsula Crowned Snake may have a genetic population structure, even in connected habitats.
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