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Bungarus suzhenae CHEN, SHI, VOGEL, DING & SHI, 2021

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Suzhen’s krait
Chinese: 素贞环蛇 (sù zhēn huán shé) 
SynonymBungarus suzhenae CHEN, SHI, VOGEL, DING & SHI 2021: 51
Bungarus multicinctus multicinctus – YANG & RAO 2008 
DistributionChina (Yunnan), Myanmar (Kachin State)

Type locality: China, Yunnan Province, Yingjiang County (24.466941°N, 97.648691°E), 934 m elevation  
TypesHolotype: CIB 116088, subadult male, collected from a road through rice fields in Yingjiang County, Yunnan Province, China (97.584451,24.662632, 922 m A.S.L), by Ding Li, in 2017.
Paratypes: (n = 3): CIB 
DiagnosisAssigned to genus Bungarus based on the presence of a row of enlarged, hexagonal scales on the vertebral scale row, enlarged prezygapophyseal accessory process and relatively high neural spine (Slowinski 1994).

Diagnosis: The new species differs from its congeners by having a combination of the following characters: (1) posterior maxilla teeth three, slightly curved behind; (2) fangs feebly curved; (3) dorsal scales in 15 rows; (4) ventrals 220–229 (n = 4); (5) subcaudals undivided, 51–54 (n= 3); (6) anterior chin shields larger than the posterior ones; (7) prefrontal suture 2.7–3.4 (n = 3) times length of internasal suture; (8) adult and subadult heads uniform black (Figs 10–12); (9) dorsal body color black, with 39.3 ±4.7 (26–38) white narrow bands present on midbody, covering 1.5 ± 0.4 (1.0–2.0)vertebral scales; (10) ventral surface uniform white, underside of tail white with tiny brown dots in the middle or immaculate; (11) ventral scales connected with the black bands of the dorsal body by small dark patches in lateral view, patches smaller than half the width of a dorsal scale; (12) tail relatively long, TaL/TL =0.136–0.150 (n = 3); (13) hemipenes reaching 7th subcaudal; (14) large, elongated and pointed spines on hemipenes, in fang-shaped; (15) tips of the large spinesstrongly keratinized, without distinct boundary with the main body of large spines. (CHEN et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Morphologically, B. suzhenae. is similar to the B. candidus/multicinctus/wanghaotingi complex but differs from these taxa by a combination of dental morphology, squamation, coloration pattern, as well as hemipenial morphology. (CHEN et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal surface of head, upper part of sides of the head, including upper part of supralabials, uniform black; lower half of head, including lower part of supralabials and rostral yellowish-white; ventral head uniform yellowish-white; iris dark black. (CHEN et al. 2021). 
CommentDiet: In captivity, they prey on eels like Monopterus albus and small snakes such Xenochrophis flavipunctatus, Pareas spp., but refuse mice and frogs (CHEN et al. 2021). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet of the new species was named after Su-Zhen Bai, a famous powerful goddess of Chinese myth The legend of the White snake (白蛇传), in honor of her courage to true love and kindness to people. 
  • Chen, Z. N., Shi, S. C., Vogel, G., Ding, L., & Shi, J. S. 2021. Multiple lines of evidence reveal a new species of Krait (Squamata, Elapidae, Bungarus) from Southwestern China and Northern Myanmar. ZooKeys, 1025: 35 - get paper here
  • Slowinski J B. 1994. A phylogenetic analysis of Bungarus (Elapidae) based on morphological characters. Journal of Herpetology 28 (4): 440-446 - get paper here
  • Wang K, Lyu ZT, Wang J, Qi S, Che J 2022. Updated Checklist and Zoogeographic Division of the Reptilian Fauna of Yunnan Province, China. Biodiversity Science 30 (4): 21326, 1–31 - get paper here
  • Yang DT, Rao DQ. 2008. Amphibia and Reptilia of Yunnan. Kunming: Yunnan Publishing Group Corporation, 1-411. (in Chinese)
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