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Atractus gigas MYERS & SCHARGEL, 2006

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAtractus gigas MYERS & SCHARGEL 2006
Atractus gigas — WALLACH et al. 2014: 73 
DistributionEcuador (Bosque Protector Rio Guajalito, Pichincha, Pacific versant of the Andes), NE Peru, 600-2300 m elevation.

Type locality: Bosque Protector Río Guajalito, Pichincha, Ecuador (00° 14’ S, 78° 49’ W). Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: FHGO 194 (Fundación Herpetológica ‘‘Gustavo Orcé́s’’), an adult female, Collected by Vlastimil Zak in January 1990. 
CommentDescription: A. gigas is a very robust snake that exceeds a meter in length (adult female holotype 1040 mm in total length), with a hint of pale transverse dorsal bars on a brown ground color. It is the largest known Atractus, differing in color pattern and details of scutellation from the several other congeners that attain lengths > 700 mm. The only known specimen has an azygous frontonasal scale that is atypical of colubrids (but is not an obvious aberrancy).

DIAGNOSIS: Atractus gigas is distinguished from all species of Atractus by its unparalleled large size (> 1 m) and robust body (fig. 5). It differs from adult specimens of other large species (≥ 700 mm) in having pale dorsal crossbars (indistinct in the only known spec- imen) rather than a false coral snake pattern (A. obesus) or definite dark markings on a brown ground color (A. depressiocellus, A. major, A. torquatus). See Comparisons for further comments. Although the juvenile color pattern of Atractus gigas is unknown, young specimens conceivably might be confused with a few much smaller species of Atractus from the Pacific versant of Ecuador. Atractus dunni has fewer ventrals (125–136 in males, 138–150 in females) than A. gigas (170 in one female) and small dark spots dorsally (Cisneros-Heredia, 2005). Atractus multicinctus differs from A. gigas in having 5 or 6 maxillary teeth (8 in gigas) and a mostly white venter (mostly grayish brown in gigas). Atractus paucidens also differs from A. gigas in having 5 or 6 maxillary teeth, and it has 4 infralabials in contact with the genials (3 in gigas). Atractus multicinctus and A. paucidens are rather slender snakes, whereas A. gigas juveniles are expected to have relatively stout bodies. 
EtymologyETYMOLOGY: The species name gigas (a giant) is a Latin noun of Greek origin. (The gigantes or giants, born of Mother Earth, were enormous beings who had thick serpents for legs. They fought a losing battle with the gods and man.) 
References
  • Arteaga AF, Bustamante-Enríquez LM and Guayasamin JM 2013. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. http://www.tropicalherping.com - get paper here
  • Myers, Charles W. Schargel, Walter E. 2006. Morphological extremes - two new snakes of the genus Atractus from northwestern South America (Colubridae: Dipsadinae). American Museum Novitates (3532):1-13 - get paper here
  • Passos, P., Dobiey, M., & Venegas, P. J. 2010. Variation and natural history notes on giant groundsnake, Atractus gigas (Serpentes: Dipsadidae). South American J. Herp. 5 (2): 73-82 - get paper here
  • Tolhurst, Bryony; Mika Peck, Jorge Noe Morales, Tim Cane, and Ian Recchio 2010. Extended distribution of a recently described dipsadine colubrid snake: Atractus gigas. Herpetology Notes 3: 073-075 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
 
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