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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4590.2.3

Three new species of the snake genus Achalinus from Vietnam (Squamata: Xenodermatidae)

THOMAS ZIEGLER, TRUONG QUANG NGUYEN, CUONG THE PHAM, TAO THIEN NGUYEN, ANH VAN PHAM, MONA VAN SCHINGEN, THAM THI NGUYEN, MINH DUC LE

Abstract


Three new species of the xenodermatid genus Achalinus are described from northern Vietnam based on morphological and molecular evidence: Achalinus juliani sp. nov. is characterized by a combination of the following characters: 1) maxillary teeth 28; 2) suture between the internasals distinctly longer than that between the prefrontals; 3) internasal not fused to prefrontal; 4) loreal not fused with prefrontal; 5) infralabials 6; 6) mental separated from anterior chin shields; 7) two elongated anterior temporals, in contact with the eye, and two posterior temporals; 8) dorsal scales in 252323 rows, keeled; 9) ventrals 173179; 10) subcaudals 7791, unpaired; 11) a total length of at least 413 mm (with a maximum tail length of 109 mm, and a tail/total length ratio of 0.220.37); 12) dorsum in preservative reddish to greyish brown above, with the lower and posterior head sides being paler; venter greyish cream, with the underside of the tail being somewhat darker. Achalinus timi sp. nov. is characterized by a combination of the following characters: 1) maxillary teeth 27; 2) suture between the internasals distinctly longer than that between the prefrontals; 3) loreal fused with the prefrontal on each side, with the prefrontal extending towards the supralabials; 4) dorsal scales in 252523 rows, keeled; 5) ventrals 170+1; 6) subcaudals 72, unpaired; 7) a total length of at least 177.9 mm in males (with a tail length of 37.9 mm, and a tail/total length ratio of 0.21); 8) dorsum in preservative reddish to greyish brown above, with wide portion of the vertebral region being distinctly darker; the lower head sides somewhat paler; infralabial and chin shields light greyish brown; venter greyish cream, with the underside of the tail being somewhat darker and the chin region somewhat paler. Achalinus emilyae sp. nov. is characterized by a combination of the following characters: 1) maxillary teeth 27 or 28; 2) suture between internasals distinctly longer than that between the prefrontals; 3) internasal not fused to prefrontal; 4) loreal not fused with prefrontal; 5) infralabials 5; 6) mental separated from anterior chin shields; 7) two anterior temporals, only the upper one in contact with eye, and two posterior temporals; 8) dorsal scales in 232323 rows, keeled; 9) ventrals in females 157161; 10) subcaudals in females 63, unpaired; 11) a total length of at least 519.5 mm (with a maximum tail length of 95.1 mm, and a tail/total length ratio of 0.18 in females); 12) dorsum iridescent pale yellowish brown with a dark longitudinal mid-dorsal stripe. In terms of pairwise genetic distance (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1, COI), the three new species differ by at least 12.7% from other members of the genus, including themselves. The total number of Achalinus known is increased to twelve and the number of Achalinus species known from Vietnam is increased from three to six. Currently ten species of xenodermatids are known to exist in Vietnam: Achalinus ater, A. emilyae, A. juliani, A. rufescens, A. spinalis, A. timi, Fimbrios klossi, F. smithi, Parafimbrios lao, and P. vietnamensis.


Keywords


Serpentes, Achalinus, molecular phylogeny, morphology, new species, northern Vietnam, taxonomy, Reptilia

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ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa