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Calliophis salitan BROWN, SMART, LEVITON & SMITH, 2018

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Dinagat Island Banded Coralsnake 
SynonymCalliophis salitan BROWN, SMART, LEVITON & SMITH 2018 
DistributionPhilippine Islands (Dinagat Island, Mindanao)

Type locality: Mt. Cambinlia, sitio Cambinlia (Sudlon), Barangay Santiago, Municipality Loreto, Dinagat Islands Province, Dinagat Island, Mindanao PAIC, Philippines, 195 m elevation (10.3436833° N, 125.6181167°E)  
TypesHolotype: PNM 9844 (KU 310164, field catalog number RMB 8291; corresponding tissue sample deposited at KU), adult male, collected 28 July 2007 by J.B. Fernandez between 1900 and 2200 h on the bank of a forested stream. SVL 856 mm; TL 997 mm; mass 96.2 g. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and comparisons. A large-bodied, black-headed, broadly banded (nine black bands over an off-white background) coralsnake in which its bright orange, unbanded tail comprises 14.1% of the total body length. The maxilla bears no maxillary teeth behind the fang, the dentary 14, the palatine 15, and the pterygoid 7. The first pair of infralabials medially contact, and the holotype has 6/6 supralabials, 7/7 infralabials, 2 postoculars, 229 ventrals, an undivided precloacal scale, 54 divided subcaudals, and dorsal scale rows arranged in 13 rows along the entire body. The new species can be distinguished from all Asian and American coralsnakes, except the long-glanded coralsnakes, Calliophis bivirgatus (C. b. bivirgatus, C. b. flaviceps, and C. b. tetrataenius); C. intestinalis (C. i. everetti, C. i. immaculatus, C. i. intestinalis, C. i. lineatus, C. i. nigrotaenia, C. i. sumatranus, and C. i. thepassi); and Philippine species, C. bilineatus, C. philippinus, and C. suluensis (Fig. 3), by possession of venom glands that extend posteriorly to a point behind the head and a Harderian gland with an enlarged posterior extension (larger than the eyeball). Other coralsnakes have a venom gland confined to the temporal region and a Harderian gland with only a moderately developed posterior extension. The new species is readily distinguished from all other long-glanded coralsnakes. From C. bivirgatus, C. intestinalis, and Philippine species, C. bilineatus, C. philippinus, and C. suluensis (Fig. 3), the new species differs in lacking a pattern of dorsolateral stripes or a unicolored dorsum, having instead a pattern of alternating black and off-white broad bands. Calliophis salitan further differs from these taxa in having a long tail (14.1% of total body length, versus 3.7–11.1% in both sexes of all other species), with 54 subcaudals (versus 15–33 in both sexes of all other species; Table 3). The new species has an orange dorsal tail surface, similar to C. bivirgatus, but its dorsal head and neck surfaces are completely black (versus bright red in C. bivirgatus) and its body is broadly banded (versus solid blue or black, with or without pale stripes). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a noun in apposition and is derived from the Tagalog (Filipino) term salitan, meaning ‘‘alternating,’’ in reference to the distinctive, alternating black and off-white banded color pattern characteristic of the new species. 
  • Brown, Rafe M.; Utpal Smart, Alan E. Leviton, and Eric N. Smith 2018. A New Species of Long-glanded Coralsnake of the Genus Calliophis (Squamata: Elapidae) from Dinagat Island, with Notes on the Biogeography and Species Diversity of Philippine Calliophis and Hemibungarus. Herpetologica In-Press - get paper here
  • Brown, Rafe M; Marta Calvo-Revuelta, Johana Goyes Vallejos, Alberto Sánchez-Vialas, Ignacio De la Riva 2021. On the second (or, rather, the first) specimen of the recently discovered Calliophis salitan (Squamata: Elapidae) and the first report of the species from Mindanao Island, southern Philippines. Herpetology Notes 14: 1027-1035
  • Leviton, Alan E.; Cameron D. Siler, Jeffrey L. Weinell, and Rafe M. Brown 2018. Synopsis of the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 64 (14): 399-568 - get paper here
  • Quibod, Ma. Niña Regina M.; Kit Neil L. Alcantara, Nicole A. Bechayda, Christian Jay C. Estropia, Jonathan B. Guntinas, Mohammad Asar H. Obin, Ryan M. Raymundo, Emmanuel P. Soniega 2022. Terrestrial vertebrates in modified landscapes in northeastern Mindanao, Philippines. Journal of Animal Diversity 3 (3): 72-85 - get paper here
  • Weinell, Jeffrey L.; Errol Hooper, Alan E. Leviton, Rafe M. Brown 2019. Illustrated Key to the Snakes of the Philippines. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 66 (1): 1-49 - get paper here
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