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Apostolepis adhara FRANÇA, BARBO, SILVA-JÚNIOR, SILVA & ZAHER, 2018

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: São Salvador burrow-snake 
SynonymApostolepis adhara FRANÇA, BARBO, SILVA-JÚNIOR, SILVA & ZAHER 2018 
DistributionBrazil (Tocantins)

Type locality: region surrounding the São Salvador Hydroelectric Power Plant (12°48’18.96’’S, 48°13’ 11.79’’W ca. 120 m above sea level; hereafter asl), municipality of São Salvador do Tocantins, state of Tocantins, Brazil.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: CEPB 6554, Probably an adult female, collected by N.J. da Silva-Júnior and team. Paratype. Probably adult female, MZUSP 16727, same data as the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Apostolepis adhara can be distinguished from all congeners by the following exclusive combination of characters: dorsum of body creamish in preservative, with eleven narrow black stripes on dorsolateral region (occupying only the center of the scales), preocular absent, supralabials six and infralabials five; ventrals 238–239, and subcaudals 36–37.

Comparisons. Apostolepis adhara differs from all congeners by lacking preocular scale (vs. presence of preocular scales). In addition, the new species differs from A. arenaria by having 238–239 ventrals (vs. 163–180); differs from all other species of Apostolepis by combination of six supralabials and five infralabials (vs. five supralabials and infralabials in A. breviceps and A. christineae; six supralabials and infralabials in A. intermedia and A. multicincta; six supralabials and eight infralabials in A. quirogai; six supralabials and seven infralabials in the rest of the species); differ from A. ammodites, A. assimilis, A. cearensis, A. flavotorquata and A. tertulianobeui by lacking posterior temporal scales (vs. presence of posterior temporals); differ from A. albicollaris, A. arenaria, A. cearensis, A. cerradoensis, A. gaboi, A. phillipsi, A. ambinigra, A. christineae, A. dimidiata, A. goiasensis, A. intermedia, A. polylepis and A. vittata by having rostral scale not projected beyond the jaws (vs. rostral slightly projected in A. albicollaris, A. arenaria, A. cearensis, A. cerradoensis, A. gaboi and A. phillipsi, and strongly projected in others congeners); differ from A. ambinigra, A. ammodites, A. breviceps, A. christineae, A. dimidiata, A. goiasensis, A. intermedia, A. longicaudata, A. polylepis, A. striata and A. vittata by having a white collar followed by a black nuchal collar (vs. white and black collars lacking in A. ambinigra, A. breviceps, A. dimidiata, A. goiasensis, A. intermedia, A. longicaudata, A. polylepis and, A. striata, and two white nuchal collars in A. ammodites); differ from A. ambinigra, A. ammodites, A. assimilis, A. breviceps, A. cearensis, A. dorbignyi, A. multicincta and A. tertulianobeui by having eleven dorsolateral narrow stripes, occupying half-size of dorsal scale rows (vs. stripes absent in A. ambinigra, A. ammodites, A. assimilis, A. breviceps, A. cearensis, A. dorbignyi, A. multicincta and A. tertulianobeui); differs from A. breviceps by having 2nd and 3rd supralabial scales contacting the orbit (vs. only the 3rd).
The species most morphologically similar to A. adhara are A. arenaria, A. gaboi and A. nelsonjorgei. However, A. adhara differ from these three species by presence of a long and linear supralabial blotch (vs. small circular blotch in A. arenaria, short and triangular in A. nelsonjorgei and A. gaboi), gular region completely dark (vs. immaculate white in A. nelsonjorgei), tail blotch short, reaching to eight dorsal scale rows (vs. long, up to twelve dorsal scale rows in A. gaboi; Figs. 2–3). A. adhara also differ from these three species by having maxillary short with five teeth (vs. maxillary very short with four teeth in A. arenaria and A. gaboi; Fig. 4), pterygoid and dentary with four and ten teeth, respectively (vs. three pterygoidal teeth in other three, and dentary teeth eight in A. arenaria and A. nelsonjorgei and nine in A. gaboi; Fig. 5). [from FRANÇA et al. 2018] 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “adhara” refers to the name of the star Epsilon Canis Majoris (ε CMa), from the constellation of Canis Major, which means “maidens” or "(the) virgins" in Arabic (Al ʽAdhārā) (Allen 1963). In the Brazilian flag, this star represents the state of Tocantins. Curiously, Adhara is the second brightest star of its constellation, as well as the Cerrado, corresponds to the second largest biome in South America.  
References
  • FRANÇA, DANIELLA. P. F.; FAUSTO E. BARBO, NELSON J. SILVA-JÚNIOR, HELDER L. R. SILVA, HUSSAM ZAHER 2018. A new species of Apostolepis (Serpentes, Dipsadidae, Elapomorphini) from the Cerrado of Central Brazil. Zootaxa 4521 (4): 438-552 - get paper here
 
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