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Chironius brazili HAMDAN & FERNANDES, 2015

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymChironius brazili HAMDAN & FERNANDES 2015 
DistributionBrazil (Goiás, Federal District, Minas Gerais, and São Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul), elevation 70 up to 1360 m (generally 700–900 m asl)

Type locality: RPPN Santuário do Caraça (20°05’, 43°29’W, 1262 m elevation), municipality of Catas Altas, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. MNRJ 17480, Adult male, collected by A.C.A. Lopes in October 2008.
Paratypes. Eight specimens all from Brazil: adult female, IVB 3290, collected by T. Filadelfo in February 2013 at Poço Azul waterfall (15°36’03’’S, 48°03’16’’W, 1220m asl), Parque Nacional de Brasília, municipality of Brasília D.C.; adult female, CHUNB 19699, collected at municipality of Alto Paraíso de Goiás (14°12’S, 47°41’W, 1250m asl), state of Goiás; juvenile male, MNRJ 18936, collected by A.C.A. Lopes in April 21 2009 same data as the holotype; adult female, IVB 3342, collected by G.A. Cotta on January 1997 at district of Vila Del Rey (20°00’S, 43°56’W, 1050m asl), municipality of Nova Lima, state of Minas Gerais; adult female, MZUFBA 2448, collected by O.M. Sampaio in November 1986, municipality of Rio Acima (20°05’S, 43°47’W, 740m asl), state of Minas Gerais; adult female, MCNR 2790, collected at municipality of Conceição do Mato Dentro (19°02’S, 43°25’W, 685m asl), state of Minas Gerais; adult male, MCNR 3384, collected at municipality of Igarapé (20°04’S, 44°17’W, 810m asl), state of Minas Gerais; adult male, MCNR 4386, collected at municipality of Ouro Preto (20°19’S, 43°33’W, 1050m asl), state of Minas Gerais.
 
CommentDistribution: see map in HAMDAN & FERNANDES 2015 (Fig. 6).

Diagnosis. Chironius brazili can be distinguished from all congeners by the following unique combination of states of characters: first third of body black or dark gray; vertebral stripe yellowish or creamish white, distinct from dorsals of nape and extending throughout almost whole body length; head dorsum tan to brown, distinct from background color of first third of body; cloacal shield frequently divided (96%); two to four rows of keeled dorsal scales at midbody; ventral ground color gradually darkening towards cloaca; region of medial constriction of hemipenis slightly covered with spinules separating calyces of apex from spines below region of constriction; in lateral view, sulcus spermaticus positioned on convex face of hemipenis; ascending process of premaxilla oblique anteroposteriorly to longitudinal axis of skull; optic fenestra not exceeding frontoparietal suture; posterior border of supratemporal exceeding braincase; dorsoventral axis of quadrate oblique mesolaterally, moving away from longitudinal axis of skull.

Comparisons. Chironius brazili is distinguished from all currently recognized congeners, except C. flavolineatus and C. diamantina, by having first third of body black or dark gray, vertebral stripe yellowish or creamish white, distinct from dorsals of nape and extending throughout almost whole body length, and head dorsum tan to brown distinct from background color of first third of body. Chironius brazili differs from C. flavolineatus (character states in parentheses) by having ventral ground color gradually darkening towards cloaca (vs. venter uniformly creamish white); region of medial constriction of hemipenis slightly covered with spinules separating calyces of apex from spines below region of constriction on asulcate side (vs. region of medial constriction with no spinules separating calyces of apex from spines below region of constriction on the asulcate side); in lateral view, sulcus spermaticus positioned on the convex face of hemipenis (vs. sulcus spermaticus positioned on the concave face of hemipenis in lateral view); ascending process of premaxilla oblique anteroposteriorly to longitudinal axis of skull (vs. perpendicular to longitudinal axis of skull); optic fenestra not exceeding frontoparietal suture (vs. exceeding frontoparietal suture); posterior border of supratemporal exceeding braincase (vs. not exceeding braincase); and dorsoventral axis of quadrate oblique mesolaterally, moving away from longitudinal axis of skull (vs. straight, not moving away from longitudinal axis of skull). Chironius brazili differs from C. diamantina (character states in parentheses) by having two to four rows of keeled dorsal scales at midbody (vs. six to ten); cloacal shield frequently divided (vs. entire).

Similar species: Chironius flavolineatus, and C. diamantina 
EtymologyThe epithet "brazili" is a patronymic honoring Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha (1865–1950), Brazilian scientist who discovered the specificity of snakebite serum and founded two centers of excellence in research and production of strategic biological products for public health: Instituto Butantan in 1899 and Instituto Vital Brazil in 1919. Despite being a doctor by training, Vital Brazil was among the first Brazilian researchers to be concerned with the correct identification of the snakes received at that time at Instituto Butantan. Vital Brazil was honored with some species of snakes, such as Rachidelus brazili Boulenger, 1908, Drymoluber brazili (Gomes, 1918), and Bothrops brazili Hoge, 1954, which we can say that is still a modest honor given his great contribution to the science. 
References
  • Hamdan, B., Pereira, A.G., Loss-Oliveira, L., Rödder, D., Schrago, C.G. 2017. Evolutionary analysis of Chironius snakes unveils cryptic diversity and provides clues to diversification in the Neotropics Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • HAMDAN, BRENO & DANIEL S. FERNANDES 2015. Taxonomic revision of Chironius flavolineatus (Jan, 1863) with description of a new species (Serpentes: Colubridae) Zootaxa 4012 (1): 097–119 - get paper here
 
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