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from the west coast of peninsular India

By Eric N. Smith, Hemant Ogale, V. Deepak and Varad B. Giri


We describe a new species of coralsnake, Calliophis castoe, from western peninsular India. The discovery of this new species comes as a surprise because it is a venomous snake from both lowland and mountainous areas that are accessible and well populated. The new species differs from all other Calliophis, the Tropical Asian coralsnakes, in having unicolored and dark body and tail dorsa, an orange head band, a salmon color to scarlet body and tail underside, four maxillary teeth behind the fang (the highest number, except for some individuals of C. maculiceps) and, in having the prefrontals touching the third supralabial while having both a preocular and a nasal (except for some C. beddomei). Calliophis castoe also differs from all other Indian coralsnakes, with the exception of some Sinomicrurus macclellandi, in having an unpatterned body, no dark pigmentation on the last supralabial, and a wide post-temporal band. We also present mitochondrial DNA sequence differences between the new taxon and C. nigrescens. The new specie is the second species of coralsnake known from the state of Goa (beside C. nigrescens), the third known from Maharashtra (beside C. melanurus and C. nigrescens), and the fifth known from the state of Karnataka (beside C. beddomei, C. bibroni, C

Topics: Key words, Calliophis castoe new species, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, snakes
Year: 2013
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