A new species of the genus Achalinus (Squamata, Xenodermatidae) from southwest Hunan Province, China

Abstract

A new species of xenodermid snake, Achalinus nanshanensis H. Li, L.-Q. Zhu, Z.-Q. Zhang & X.-Y. Mo, sp. nov., is described based on three specimens collected from Nanshan National Park and Tongdao County of southwest Hunan Province. This new species is genetically distinct amongst its congeners with the mitochondrial COI uncorrected p-distance ranging from 4.4% (in A. yangdatongi) to 17.7% (in A. meiguensis). In addition, this new species can be distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following morphological characters: (1) dorsal scales with 23 or 25 rows throughout and strongly keeled; (2) tail relatively longer so that TaL/ToL = 0.215–0.248; (3) length of suture between internasals significantly longer than that between prefrontals, LSBI/LSBP = 1.66–1.84; (4) single loreal scale present; (5) SPL 6 in number, with the fourth and fifth contacting eye; (6) IFL 6 in number, with the first three touching the first pair of chin shields; (7) TMP is 2-2-4/2-2(3)-4, with the anterior pair elongated and in contact with the eye; (8) ventrals 2 + 147–158; (9) subcaudals 64–77, unpaired; (10) dorsal body brownish black, with a bright yellow neck collar extending to the head and abdomen in the occipital region. The recognition of the new species increases the number of described Achalinus species to 28, of which 21 are found in China

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