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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Atlas Ground Snake
S: Culebra Tierrera del Atlas 
Atractus sp. — ALMENDARIZ et al. 2014 
DistributionEcuador, elevation 1800–2100 m

Type locality: Rio Blanco (03°55’2.08’’S 78°30’9.81’’W, ca. 1850 m elevation), Paquisha, municipality of Paquisha, province of Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador  
TypesHolotype: MEPN 14203, adult female, collected on July 26 2011 by Ana Almendáriz, Jorge Brito, Juan Hurtado and Jorge Puchaicela (Figs. 1–2). Paratypes: Three adult females from southeastern slopes of Ecuadorian Andes: (DHMECN 2972) collected on May 2005 by Juan Carlos Ronquillo at Guayzimi Alto (04°06’20.7”S 78°46’05.7”W; ca. 2100 m asl ), Parroquía Guayzimi, province of Zamora- Chinchipe; (QCAZ 14946) from Reserva Biológica Cerro Plateado (04o36’20’’S 78o52’30’’W; ca. 1700 m asl), and (DHMECN 12361) collected on July 5 2014 by Jorge Brito and Victor León at Zúñac (02o11’48’’S 78o18’58’’W; ca. 1900 m asl), Parque Nacional Sangay, Cantón Morona, both in the province of Morona Santiago. Quantitative variation of the type-series of Atractus atlas is presented in Table I in Passos et al. 2018. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Atractus atlas can be distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) smooth dorsal scale rows 17/17/17; (2) postoculars two; (3) loreal moderately long, contacting second to fourth supralabials; (4) temporal formula usually 1+2; (5) supralabials eight, fourth and fifth contacting eye; (6) infralabials eight, first four contacting chinshields; (7) maxillary teeth eight; (8) gular scale rows usually four; (9) preventrals usually four; (10) ventrals 158–169 in females; (11) subcaudals 28– 33 in females; (12) in preservative, dorsum yellow ocher with a series of alternating black bands (2–3 scales long), connected or not to the opposite band on the vertebral region; (13) ventral surface of body mostly pale buff scattered with conspicuous black marks (blotches, spots and dots); (14) maximum body size moderate in females 820 mm SVL; (15) tail size moderately long in females (12.2–15.0% SVL); (16) midbody diameter in females 18.0–21.4 mm. 
CommentHabitat: Mountain rainforest; the holotype (MEPN 14203) was found resting under leaf litter. This forest formation usually remains cloudy in the early hours of the morning, afternoons, or even all day long, depending on the season, and is comprised by trees of 15–20 m covered with bryophytes, bromeliads and abundant moss. The plant layer sits on a plateau of sandstone, and grows on a substrate of very acid sand soil poor in nutrients. 
EtymologyNamed after the Latinized specific epithet “atlas” (Άτλας) which represents a Titan from the Greek mythology that was condemned by Zeus to support the entire world (or the heaven in some variations of the ancient legend) forever on their shoulders as punishment for attacking the Mount Olympus. The legend is also related to excess of obligations and duties or the huge efforts to complete certain difficult tasks. We employed herein this name alluding to the large body-size of the new species (it is among the five species of the genus that reach the largest body-size; see Passos et al. 2010a), as well as in reference to the tremendous endeavor for attaining the real diversity of Atractus, not only for discovering undescribed species, but also for recognition of a lot of synonymies in the old and even recent literature, or frequent species misidentifications in collections and public repositories (see Passos et al. 2017). 
  • Almendáriz A, Simmons JE, Brito J, Vaca-Guerrero J. 2014. Overview of the herpetofauna of the unexplored Cordillera del Cóndor of Ecuador. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 8 (1) [Special Section]: 45–64 - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2019. Liste der im Jahr 2018 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2019 (3): 52-72
  • Melo-Sampaio PR, Venegas PJ 2023. A new species of groundsnake genus Atractus Wagler, 1828 (Serpentes, Dipsadidae) from the Peruvian Andes revealed by unequivocal morphological characters. Evolutionary Systematics 7(2): 257-266 - get paper here
  • PASSOS, PAULO; AGUSTÍN SCANFERLA; PAULO R. MELO-SAMPAIO; JORGE BRITO; ANA ALMENDARIZ 2018. A giant on the ground: another large-bodied Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadinae) from Ecuadorian Andes, with comments on the dietary specializations of the goo-eaters snakes. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
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