David Gower

David Gower
Natural History Museum, London · Department of Life Sciences

About

368
Publications
128,663
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9,307
Citations
Citations since 2016
114 Research Items
5056 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800

Publications

Publications (368)
Article
Full-text available
Sri Lanka has a rich snake diversity, but the island’s scolecophidians (‘blindsnakes’) are poorly understood due to the cryptic, burrowing habits of these inconspicuous animals and lack of systematic field surveys and morphological and molecular analyses. Here we report findings from a systematic survey carried out over a decade across the island o...
Article
The shape and relative size of an ocular lens affect the focal length of the eye, with consequences for visual acuity and sensitivity. Lenses are typically spherical in aquatic animals with camera-type eyes and axially flattened in terrestrial species to facilitate vision in optical media with different refractive indices. Frogs and toads (Amphibia...
Article
Uropeltis dindigalensis (Beddome, 1877) is a poorly known uropeltid (shieldtail) snake from peninsular India. Here we report morphological data for 14 preserved and nine uncollected specimens, most of which have not been previously reported. We designate a lectotype from the type series, describe it, and present the first published photographs of s...
Preprint
Non-visual opsins are transmembrane proteins expressed in the eyes, skin, and brain of many animals. When paired with a light-sensitive chromophore, non-visual opsins form photopigment systems involved in various non-visual, light-detection functions, including circadian rhythm regulation, light-seeking behavior, and detection of seasonality. Previ...
Article
Full-text available
Uropeltidae is a clade of small fossorial snakes (ca. 65 extant species) endemic to peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Uropeltid taxonomy has been confusing, and the status of some species has not been revised for over a century. Attempts to revise uropeltid systematics and undertake evolutionary studies have been hampered by incompletely sampled and...
Article
Full-text available
Pupil constriction has important functional consequences for animal vision, yet the evolutionary mechanisms underlying diverse pupil sizes and shapes are poorly understood. We aimed to quantify the diversity and evolution of pupil shapes among amphibians and to test for potential correlations to ecology based on functional hypotheses. Using photogr...
Chapter
An expansion of the use of molecular data in the 21st C has accompanied a greatly increased number of amphibian and reptile species descriptions. Some of the newly discovered or recognised diversity has been considered ‘cryptic’. Islands and island endemic taxa represent worthwhile systems to address questions about cryptic species. Being comprised...
Chapter
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Chapter
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
Full-text available
The osteology of the poorly known grandisoniid caecilian Gegeneophis carnosus is described for the first time by applying high-resolution X-ray micro-computed tomography to some recently collected material. The ossified skeleton comprises a stegokrotaphic skull, lower jaw, and vertebral column. The braincase, composed of the sphenethmoid and os bas...
Article
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
This brief chapter introduces the book. The rationale, scope, and coverage are summarized, including mention of topics that are not covered. Aspects of debate, disagreement, and consensus in the field are summarized before the chapter is concluded with a look to future potential progress.
Article
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
Snakes comprise nearly 4,000 extant species found on all major continents except Antarctica. Morphologically and ecologically diverse, they include burrowing, arboreal, and marine forms, feeding on prey ranging from insects to large mammals. Snakes are strikingly different from their closest lizard relatives, and their origins and early diversifica...
Article
Full-text available
Background Differences in morphology, ecology, and behavior through ontogeny can result in opposing selective pressures at different life stages. Most animals, however, transition through two or more distinct phenotypic phases, which is hypothesized to allow each life stage to adapt more freely to its ecological niche. How this applies to sensory s...
Article
Urocotyledon inexpectata, a small gecko endemic to the granitic islands of the Seychelles, has previously been demonstrated to comprise two highly distinct clades based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences, with one lineage exclusive to a northern group of islands, and the second lineage exclusive to the more southerly islands. Here we comple...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The information in this Best Practice Guideline has come from a variety of sources including a literature review, the experience of the authors and others in the captive husbandry of Typhlonectes spp. and Potomotyphlus caecilians; a caecilian husbandry questionnaire that involved both zoological collections, aquariums and keepers from the private s...
Article
Full-text available
The Manda Beds of southwest Tanzania have yielded key insights into the early evolutionary radiation of archosaurian reptiles. Many key archosaur specimens were collected from the Manda Beds in the 1930s and 1960s, but until recently, few of these had been formally published. Here, we describe an archosaur specimen collected in 1963 which has previ...
Article
The spectral characteristics of vertebrate ocular lenses affect the image of the world that is projected onto the retina, and thus help shape diverse visual capabilities. Here, we tested whether amphibian lens transmission is driven by adaptation to diurnal activity (bright light) and/or scansorial habits (complex visual environments). Spectral tra...
Article
Full-text available
Maintaining Gymnophiona in captivity provides opportunities to study the behaviour and life-history of this poorly known Order, and to investigate and provide species appropriate welfare guidelines, which are currently lacking. This study focuses on the terrestrial caecilian Herpele squalostoma to investigate its sensitivity to disturbances associa...
Article
Natricine snakes are geographically widespread, species rich (with ~250 extant species) and both morphologically and ecologically diverse. We present a multilocus DNA sequence phylogeny for 249 natricine specimens representing 189 named species, including 69 specimens and 21 species not previously sampled. Our inferred Bayesian and maximum likeliho...
Article
Full-text available
Xenodermidae is a generally poorly known lineage of caenophidian snakes found in South, East and Southeast Asia. We report molecular phylogenetic analyses for a multilocus data set comprising all five currently recognised genera and including new mi-tochondrial and nuclear gene sequence data for the recently described Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai. Our...
Article
Full-text available
Xenodermidae is a generally poorly known lineage of caenophidian snakes found in South, East and Southeast Asia. We report molecular phylogenetic analyses for a multilocus data set comprising all five currently recognised genera and including new mi-tochondrial and nuclear gene sequence data for the recently described Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai. Our...
Article
Full-text available
Molecular genetic data have recently been incorporated in attempts to reconstruct the ecology of the ancestral snake, though this has been limited by a paucity of data for one of the two main extant snake taxa, the highly fossorial Scolecophidia. Here we present and analyse vision genes from the first eye transcriptomic and genome-wide data for Sco...
Article
Full-text available
The world currently recognizes 214 species of Caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) most of which occur in the wet tropics and some adjacent subtropical regions. Of the ten-family classification known, three occur in Asia, viz. Chikilidae (endemic to northeast India, Indotyphlidae (India's Western and Eastern Ghats) and Ichthyophiidae. However, until...
Preprint
Full-text available
Pupil constriction has important functional consequences for animal vision, yet the evolutionary mechanisms underlying diverse pupil sizes and shapes, often among animals that occupy optically similar environments, are poorly understood. We aimed to quantify the diversity and evolution of pupil shapes among amphibians and test for potential correla...
Article
Full-text available
We describe a new species of Stoliczkia from Mizoram, India. Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai sp. nov. is identified as a member of the genus Stoliczkia by distinct scale arrangements on the posterior of the head, and by scales on the body being separated by scaleless skin, and it differs from the two known congeners in body and head scalation. This is on...
Article
en The Uropeltidae, a family of small, fossorial snakes endemic to south Asia, are characterized by highly modified head and tail morphology. Their secretive nature has led to a dearth of research regarding intraspecific variation in morphology and tail function. Linear morphometrics of external size and shape and scale counts were combined with 3D...
Article
Full-text available
There are currently 3,900 recognized, extant snake species belonging to 529 genera globally (Uetz et al. 2021; this study), making snakes one of the most diverse major groups of squamates. Of the 665 currently recognized species that were described between 2001 and 2020 (a ~17% increase in total species), ~34% of these (226 species) were described...
Article
Full-text available
We reassess the taxonomy of the Indian endemic snake Xylophis captaini and describe a new species of Xylophis based on a type series of three specimens from the southernmost part of mainland India. Xylophis deepaki sp. nov. is most similar phenotypically to X. captaini, with which it was previously confused. The new species differs from X. captaini...
Article
Full-text available
Animals with biphasic lifecycles often inhabit different visual environments across ontogeny. Many frogs and toads (Amphibia: Anura) have free-living aquatic larvae (tadpoles) that metamorphose into adults that inhabit a range of aquatic and terrestrial environments. Ecological differences influence eye size across species, but these relationships...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10682-021-10109-w
Article
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Phylogenetic relationships of sub-Saharan African natricine snakes are understudied and poorly understood, which in turn has precluded analyses of the historical biogeography of the Seychelles endemic Lycognathophis seychellensis. We inferred the phylogenetic relationships of Seychelles and mainland sub-Saharan natricines by analysing a multilocus...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many animals have complex life cycles where larval and adult forms have distinct ecologies and habitats that impose different demands on their sensory systems. While the adaptive decoupling hypothesis predicts reduced genetic correlations between life stages, how sensory systems adapt across life stages at the molecular level is not well understood...
Article
Full-text available
Erythrosuchidae were large-bodied, quadrupedal, predatory archosauriforms that dominated the hypercarnivorous niche in the aftermath of the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Garjainia , one of the oldest members of the clade, is known from the late Olenekian of European Russia. The holotype of Garjainia prima comprises a well-preserved skull, but hig...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Island systems offer excellent opportunities for studying the evolutionary histories of species by virtue of their restricted size and easily identifiable barriers to gene flow. However, most studies investigating evolutionary patterns and processes shaping biotic diversification have focused on more recent (emergent) rather than ancie...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of the uropeltid (shieldtail snake) genus Rhinophis is described based on a type series of seven specimens from the Wayanad region of the Western Ghats of peninsular India. The holotype was collected before 1880 but had been misidentified as the phenotypically similar and parapatric (possibly partly sympatric) R. sanguineus. Rhinophis...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of the natricine snake genus Smithophis Giri et al. 2019 is described based on three specimens collected from Arunachal Pradesh, India. An additional three referred specimens are documented. Smithophis arunachalensis sp. nov. differs from all known congeners by a combination of 4–5 (rarely 6) small scales around the eye (excluding lab...
Article
Full-text available
Frogs and toads (Amphibia: Anura) display diverse ecologies and behaviours, which are often correlated with visual capacity in other vertebrates. Additionally, anurans exhibit a broad range of relative eye sizes, which have not previously been linked to ecological factors in this group. We measured relative investment in eye size and corneal size f...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Gene expression profiles can provide insights into the molecular machinery behind tissue functions and, in turn, can further our understanding of environmental responses, and developmental and evolutionary processes. During vertebrate evolution, the skin has played a crucial role, displaying a wide diversity of essential functions. To...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of uropeltid snake is described from the Knuckles Conservation Forest, Matale District, Sri Lanka. Rhinophis gunasekarai sp. nov. is superficially most similar to Rhinophis phillipsi in having yellow lines on the dorsum, blotches on the lateral body, and a relatively small tail shield, but it differs from that species in having substa...
Article
The African natricine genus Limnophis is represented by two species: Limnophis bicolor Günther, 1865 and Limnophis bangweolicus (Mertens, 1936). They are stout-bodied, semi-aquatic snakes that mostly feed on fish and amphibians, and occur from Botswana and Namibia in the south throughout most of Zambia and Angola to the Democratic Republic of the C...
Article
Full-text available
Caecilians epitomise the complexities of maintaining poorly known amphibian taxa in captivity. Empirical data on even the most basic husbandry parameters are lacking for most species of caecilian, including the substrate used to maintain them. We used a simple choice chamber to compare two commonly used substrate types. Microcaecila unciolor were h...
Article
Full-text available
We report the rediscovery of the keelback snake Hebius pealii after 129 years from Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. We designate a lectotype for the species, and provide the first description of a female, of colour in life, and aspects of its natural history. Multilocus phylogenetic analyses of two mitochondrial (1071 bp cytb, 508 bp 16s) and...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of natricid snake, Smithophis linearis sp. nov., is described on the basis of a single recently collected specimen from Yingjiang County, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China, and three historical specimens from Yunnan and from northeastern Myanmar. The new species is assigned to the genus Smithophis on the basis of its single...
Article
A new species of the shieldtail snake genus Rhinophis is described based on a type series of seven recently collected specimens from the Wayanad region of the Western Ghats of peninsular India. Rhinophis melanoleucus sp. nov. is diagnosed based on a combination of 15 dorsal scale rows at (or just behind) midbody, more than 215 ventral scales and a...
Article
Full-text available
We provide the first molecular phylogenetic data for the following poorly known Northeast Indian snakes: Blythia reticulata and B. hmuifang, Hebius xenura, and Trachischium spp. Based on 1071 bp of cytb, 578 bp of nd4, 509 bp of 16s, 1000 bp of rag1 and 672 bp of cmos, we found support for a monophyletic Blythia being a member of Natricinae, most c...
Article
Snakes are descended from highly visual lizards [1] but have limited (probably dichromatic) color vision attributed to a dim-light lifestyle of early snakes [2, 3, 4]. The living species of front-fanged elapids, however, are ecologically very diverse, with ∼300 terrestrial species (cobras, taipans, etc.) and ∼60 fully marine sea snakes, plus eight...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Island systems offer excellent opportunities for studying the evolutionary histories of species by virtue of their restricted size and easily identifiable barriers to gene flow. However, most studies investigating evolutionary patterns and processes shaping biotic diversification have focused on more recent (emergent) rather than ancien...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Island systems offer excellent opportunities for studying the evolutionary histories of species by virtue of their restricted size and easily identifiable barriers to gene flow. However, most studies investigating evolutionary patterns and processes shaping biotic diversification have focused on more recent (emergent) rather than ancien...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Island systems offer excellent opportunities for studying the evolutionary histories of species by virtue of their restricted size and easily identifiable barriers to gene flow. However, most studies investigating evolutionary patterns and processes shaping biotic diversification have focused on more recent (emergent) rather than ancien...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Island systems offer excellent opportunities for studying the evolutionary histories of species by virtue of their restricted size and easily identifiable barriers to gene flow. However, most studies investigating evolutionary patterns and processes shaping biotic diversification have focused on more recent (emergent) rather than ancien...
Article
Full-text available
We reassessed the systematics of the Indian (semi)fossorial snake Xylophis perroteti (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854) based on morphological and DNA sequence data for type, historical, and new specimens. A population from the Anamalai Hills is distinct from broadly topotypic X. perroteti from the Nilgiri Hills (from which they are separated geogra...