Yes @yerbasanta that’s a really nice video! Thanks for sharing it. And the close-up photography is wonderful. Also, the explanation on the aposematic coloring of xanthoptica and the camouflage coloring of platensis is nicely done.
In terms of genetic relationships it focuses on the classic “ring species” hypothesis, which still seems to have a lot of truth in it. The more recent messy details raised by phylogenetic analysis would make for a pretty complex story to convey in a four-minute video. At least two of the seven recognized Ensatina subspecies (oregonensis and platensis) have been shown to be polyphyletic, meaning they’re made up of different lineages, some of which are more closely related to other subspecies.
It’s broadly true that “coastal clade” of xanthoptica and eschscholtzii spread down the coast from north to south, while the “inland clade” of southern platensis, croceater and klauberi spread along the Sierra Nevada into southern California, but I’m pretty sure the animation in the video where the subspecies appear in their current locations progressively from north to south is a wild oversimplification. In reality, the species has been slowly dispersing, evolving, interbreeding and occasionally replacing other populations over a fairly long period. For much of that time, the forbears of today’s populations may not have been recognizable using today’s subspecies categories, and even if they were recognizable they would likely have had different distributions.
So we don’t (and possibly can’t) know enough to show where the subspecies originated except to say that the inland and coastal clades radiated separately from north to south where they met (and discovered that they can’t interbreed or don’t want to). Nevertheless the visualization is a good way to get the basic picture of a ring species.
BTW, the second Kuchta et al paper from 2009 gives a lot more detail on the interrelationships between the subspecies and clades.
“Closing the ring: historical biogeography of the salamander ring species Ensatina eschscholtzii”
Shawn R. Kuchta*, Duncan S. Parks, Rachel Lockridge Mueller and David B. Wake, Journal of Biogeography (2009) 36, 982–995