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Atractus michaelsabini ARTEAGA, QUEZADA, VIEIRA & GUAYASAMIN, 2022

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Michael Sabin’s Ground Snake.
S: Culebra tierrera de Michael Sabin 
SynonymAtractus michaelsabini ARTEAGA, QUEZADA, VIEIRA & GUAYASAMIN 2022: 191
Atractus roulei SAVAGE 1960: 68 (part)
Atractus lehmanni ARTEAGA et al. 2017: 97 

Type locality: El Panecillo, El Oro province, Ecuador (S3.46753, W79.48248; 2750 m (unclear from description)  
Reproductionoviparous. At the type locality, clutches of three or four eggs have been found under soil (Arteaga et al. 2022). 
TypesHolotype. ZSFQ 4938 (Figs 8, 9, 10g), adult male collected by Jorge Luis Romero at Corraleja, Azuay province, Ecuador (S3.3874, W79.22785; 2660 m).
Paratypes. MZUTI 5289, adult female collected by Jorge Luis Romero at the type locality. AMARU 002 (Fig. 10f ), adult female collected by Jorge Luis Romero at the type locality. ZSFQ 4939 (Fig. 10h), juvenile female collected by Jose Vieira and Amanda Quezada at El Panecillo, El Oro province, Ecuador (S3.46753, W79.48248; 2750 m). QCAZ 7887 and 7902, adult male and female collected by Silvia Aldás in December 2006 at Guanazán, El Oro province, Ecuador (S3.44667, W79.49051; 2663 m). QCAZ 9643 and 9652, adult females collected by Silvia Aldás in August 2009 at El Panecillo, El Oro province, Ecuador (S3.46753, W79.48248; 2775 m). DHMECN 7644–45, adult males collected by Mario Yánez-Muñoz, Luis Oyagata, Patricia Bejarano, and Marco Altamirano in March 2010 at Reserva Biológica Yunguilla, Azuay province, Ecuador (S3.22684, W79.27520; 1748 m). AMNH 18325, adult female collected in July 1920 at El Chiral, El Oro province, Ecuador (S3.63825, W79.59723; 1841 m). AMNH 22110–11, collected in August 1921 at La Chonta, El Oro province, Ecuador (S3.56585, W79.85144; 1025 m). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Atractus michaelsabini is placed in the genus Atractus, as diagnosed by Savage (1960), based on phylogenetic evidence. The species is diagnosed based on the following combination of characters: (1) 15/15/15 smooth dorsals; (2) one postocular; (3) loreal 3 × longer than high; (4) temporals 1+2; (5) five or six supralabials, with (usually) third and fourth contacting orbit; (6) five or six infralabials, with (usually) first three contacting chinshields; (7) 9–13 maxillary teeth; (8) 1–3 rows of gular scales; (9) 1–3 preventrals; (10) 143–144 ventrals in males and 144–153 in females; (11) 24–31 subcaudals in males and 17–19 in females; (12) dorsal ground color golden yellow to dark brown with each scale outlined in black, forming a reticulation; (13) venter yellowish with various degrees of brown stippling; (14) 256–321 mm SVL in males and 201–392 mm SVL in females; (15) 35–42 mm TL in males and 21–37 mm TL in females. (Arteaga et al. 2022). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Arteaga et al. 2022: 184 (Fig. 2)

Behavior: Anecdotal information suggests that these snakes are more active during the rainy months (February-May at the type locality; Arteaga et al. 2022). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet michaelsabini is a patronym honoring a young nature lover, Michael Sabin, grandson of American philanthropist and conservationist Andrew “Andy” Sabin. The Sabin family is involved in conservation and field research of amphibians and reptiles and has protected over 264,365 acres of critical habitat throughout the world. 
  • Arteaga A, Quezada A, Vieira J, Guayasamin JM 2022. Leaving no stone unturned: three additional new species of Atractus ground snakes (Serpentes, Colubridae) from Ecuador discovered using a biogeographical approach. ZooKeys 1121: 175–210 - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2023. Liste der im Jahr 2022 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2023 (3): 48-73
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