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Achalinus timi ZIEGLER, NGUYEN, PHAM, NGUYEN, PHAM, VAN SCHINGEN, NGUYEN & LE, 2019

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Higher TaxaXenodermidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Tim’s Burrowing Snake 
SynonymAchalinus timi ZIEGLER, NGUYEN, PHAM, NGUYEN, PHAM, VAN SCHINGEN, NGUYEN & LE 2019 
DistributionN Vietnam (Son La)

Type locality: forest within the Copia Nature Reserve, near Hua Ty Village (21°20.105’N, 103°35.860’E), Co Ma Commune, Thuan Chau District, Son La Province, northern Vietnam  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. IEBR A.2018.10 (Field no. PA.180), adult male, collected by A.V. Pham on 12 May 2014 at an elevation of ca. 1470 m above sea level. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of the genus Achalinus, 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 prefrontal on each side, with the prefrontal extending towards the supralabials; 4) dorsal scales in 25–25–23 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 are 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.

Comparisons. Achalinus timi sp. nov. lacks a separate loreal scale, which is fused with the prefrontal on each side, with the prefrontal extending towards the supralabials; all remaining Achalinus species known at time to occur in Vietnam (A. ater, A. juliani, A. rufescens, and A. spinalis) have a loreal being separated from the prefrontal by a suture, which is also the case in most other Achalinus species (A. hainanus, A. meiguensis, A. niger, and A. werneri) which thus can be easily distinguished from Achalinus timi sp. nov. Achalinus timi sp. nov. further differs from A. formosanus, A. jinggangensis, A. meiguensis, A. rufescens, and A. spinalis by having more maxillary teeth. For details and further distinguishing characters see Table 5.
Besides different maxillary teeth counts, Achalinus timi sp. nov. can be distinguished from the two subspecies of A. formosanus as follows: from A. f. formosanus by having the internasal suture distinctly longer than prefrontal suture (versus internasal suture almost as long as prefrontal suture) and 25–25–23 versus 29–27–25 dorsal scale rows; and from A. f. chigirai by 23 versus 25 dorsal scale rows at posterior body and by having more ventrals and less subcaudals (170 versus 161–167 ventrals; 72 versus 96–97 subcaudals).
Furthermore, Achalinus timi sp. nov. can be distinguished from A. jinggangensis by having 25 versus 23 dorsal scale rows at midbody, more ventrals and subcaudals (170 versus 156–164 ventrals; 72 versus 51–64 subcaudals, respectively). 
CommentHabitat: the holotype was a road kill specimen. The surrounding habitat was secondary evergreen forest. 
EtymologyNamed after Tim N. Ziegler. 
References
  • Pham AV, Ziegler T, Nguyen TQ 2020. New records and an updated checklist of snakes from Son La Province, Vietnam. Biodiversity Data Journal 8: e52779 - get paper here
  • ZIEGLER, THOMAS; TRUONG QUANG NGUYEN, CUONG THE PHAM, TAO THIEN NGUYEN, ANH VAN PHAM, MONA VAN SCHINGEN, THAM THI NGUYEN, MINH DUC LE 2019. Three new species of the snake genus Achalinus from Vietnam (Squamata: Xenodermatidae). Zootaxa 4590 (2): 249-269 - get paper here
 
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