Four recently described colubroid snakes

2014 has been predicted to be a big year for new species of reptiles. These four reticently described species support that claim.

Siphlophis ayauma sp. nov

 Siphlophis ayauma sp. nov. was recently described by Sheehy and colleagues (2014) from the Amazonian slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes, in the provinces of Azuay, Tungurahua, and Zamora Chinchipe. This is the third species of Siphlophis known from Ecuador and the seventh species in the genus. Siphlophis ayauma has been found on the Amazon versant of the Andes Mountains of Ecuador from 1250 to 2200 m elevation in the Montane. Lower Montane, and upper Foothill Evergreen vegetation zones. Given its distribution, the species will very likely also be found in Peru. The female holotype was found active on forest floor vegetation during a rainy night.

Philodryas amaru sp. nov.

Philodryas amaru sp. nov. Zaher et al. (2014) is from the highlands of southern Ecuador The new species resembles Philodryas simonsii in color pattern but they differ in their  hemipenial morphology. The three other trans-Andean members of the genus (Philodryas simonsii, Philodryas chamissonis, and Philodryas tachymenoides), along with the new species, compose a probably monophyletic group that may be characterized by the presence of ungrooved postdiastemal teeth in the maxilla. Unlike most species of the genus Philodryas, the new species shows a restricted distribution, apparently restricted to a small region of high-altitude (3150–4450 m) grasslands in the southern Andes of Ecuador.

Opisthotropis durandi sp. nov.

Opisthotropis durandi sp. nov. Teyni et al. (2014) is based upon two specimens, collected in a karst formation of northern Louangphabang (or Luang Prabang) Province, North Laos. They differ from all other known Opisthotropis in morphology. It represents the first confirmed record of a species of Opisthotropis sensu stricto from Laos and it is the 108th snake species currently recorded from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. This new aquatic snake was lying under a half-immersed rock at the bottom of a small waterfall in the course of a fast-running forest stream.  It is interesting to note that the local vernacular name of this snake is Ngou Koung or Ngou Kung, meaning “shrimp snake,” and shrimp were observed at the collection site, but its diet remains undocumented.

Rhabdophis guangdongensis sp. nov.

Rhabdophis guangdongensis sp. nov. Zhu et al (2014) was described from Guangdong Province, China. It is both genetically and morphological distinct, having a small body size; 20 maxillary teeth, with posterior enlargedn fangs that are not separated by diastemata and other traits. The description of this  species brings the number of described Rhabdophis to 21 and represents the tenth known Rhabdophis species in China.

Sheehy, C. M., Yánez-Muñoz, M. H., Valencia, J. H., & Smith, E. N. (2014). A New Species of Siphlophis (Serpentes: Dipsadidae: Xenodontinae) from the Eastern Andean Slopes of Ecuador. South American Journal of Herpetology, 9(1), 30-45.

Teyni, A., Lottier, A., David, P., Nguyen, T. Q., & Vogel, G. (2014). A new species of the genus Opisthotropis Günther, 1872 from northern Laos (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa, 3774(2), 165-182.

Zaher, H., Arredondo, J. C., Valencia, J. H., Arbeláez, E., Rodrigues, M. T., & Altamirano-Benavides, M. (2014). A new Andean species of Philodryas (Dipsadidae, Xenodontinae) from Ecuador. Zootaxa, 3785(3), 469-480.

Zhu, G. X., Wang, Y. Y., Takeuchi, H., & Zhao, E. (2014). A new species of the genus Rhabdophis Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Guangdong Province, southern China. Zootaxa, 3765(5), 469-480.

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