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Achalinus huangjietangi HUANG, PENG & HUANG, 2021

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Higher TaxaXenodermidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Huang’s Odd-scaled Snake
Chinese: 黄家岭脊蛇 (Bopomofo: Huáng Jiā Lǐng Jǐ Shé) 
SynonymAchalinus huangjietangi HUANG, PENG & HUANG in HUANG et al. 2021 
DistributionChina (Huangshan City, southern Anhui Province; Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province)

Type locality: Huangjialing Village, Qimen County, Huangshan City, Anhui Province, China (29°49′20′′ N, 117°32′24′′ E, 220 m a. s. l.)  
TypesHolotype: ANU 20200001 (HSR18030 collection number), adult female (ANU: Anhui Normal University);
Paratypes: CIB 116366 (HSR 14023 collection number), adult male; SNHM5412 (HSR 18220 collection number), adult male; ANU 20200002 (HSR 18059 collection number), juvenile; ANU 20200003 (HSR 19141 collection number), juvenile (CIB: Chengdu Institute of Biology. SNHM: Shanghai Natural History Museum) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The new species of Achalinus that can be differentiated from its congeners by the following combination of characters: an iridescent, black (in juveniles) or brown (in adults) dorsum with vertebral scales and about half of the adjacent dorsal scales dark, forming a longitudinal vertebral line from posterior margin of parietals to tail tip, a light brown venter, ventral shields wide and visible on both sides, light brown flanks, a black dot in the middle of each subcaudal scale, giving the appearance of a black subcaudal streak, dorsal scales weakly keeled and do not overlap, 23 dorsal scale rows throughout the body, outermost dorsal row smooth and significantly enlarged, preocular and postocular absent, an internasal suture half of the length of the prefontal suture, temporals 2+2+4, elongated with the two anterior temporals in contact with eye, a pair of significantly enlarged uppermost posterior temporals (super-temporal) separated from each other by a small intertemporal behind the parietals. 
CommentDiet: Earthworms

Similar species: SNHM5412 (HSR14023 collection number) was the first specimen of the five in the present study. It was found on May 10, 2014 on the mountain path at the foot of mountains beside Huangjialing Village. Morphologically, it corresponds with the broad characteristics of A. rufescens described in Fauna Sinica 3 (Zhao et al., 1998) and The snakes of China (Zhao, 2006). So, it was reported as a new record of A. rufescens in Anhui Province, China (Peng and Huang, 2015). However, in the present study, detailed morphological and molecular studies show that it is a new species of Achalinus.

Achalinus huangjietangi sp. nov. conforms to the eclectic “four difference rule” of species delimitation (Peng et al., 2014): 1) morphological difference compared with the closest species is perceptible; 2) geographical and/or ecological difference implies the potential for natural reproductive isolation (Song Huang, pers. comm. 21 Oct 2021). 
EtymologyThe species name is derived from the name of Professor Jietang Huang (Huangshan Institude of Ophiology), a senior ophiologist who has been contributing substantially to snake researchs over 50 years. Born and raised in Huangjialing Village, he was the first college graduate from the village.  
  • HUANG, Ruyi; Lifang PENG, Lei YU, Tianqi HUANG, Ke JIANG, Li DING, Jinkang CHANG, Diancheng YANG, Yuhao XU and Song HUANG 2021. A New Species of the Genus Achalinus from Huangshan, Anhui, China (Squamata: Xenodermidae). Asian Herpetological Research 12 (2): 178-187 - get paper here
  • Peng L. F., Huang S. 2015. Achalinus rufescens was found in Anhui Province. (In Chinese) Chinese J Zool, 50(1): 159
  • Zhao E. M. 1998. Fauna Sinica, Reptilia, Vol. 3, Squamata: Serpentes. Science Press (In Chinese)
  • Zhao, E.M. 2006. The snakes of China [in Chinese]. Hefei, China, Anhui Sience & Technology Publ. House, Vol. I, 372 pp., Vol. II (color plates), 280 pp.
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