Crotalus polisi MEIK, SCHAACK, FLORES-VILLELA & STREICHER, 2018
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Crotalus polisi?
|Higher Taxa||Viperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||Horsehead Island speckled rattlesnake|
|Synonym||Crotalus polisi MEIK, SCHAACK, FLORES-VILLELA & STREICHER 2018|
Crotalus mitchellii — GRISMER 2002
Crotalus mitchellii — MURPHY & AGUIRRE-LÉON 2002
Crotalus mitchellii — MEIK et al. 2012, in part.
Crotalus pyrrhus — MEIK et al. 2015, in part.
|Distribution||Mexico (Baja California: Cabeza de Caballo Island)|
Type locality: Cabeza de Caballo Island, Municipality de Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Coordinates: N 28.971 W 113.479 (Figure 5 in Meik et al. 2018).
|Types||Holotype: MZFC-UNAM 26408, adult female, field number JMM-642, collected on 18 March 2010 by Jesse M. Meik, Sarah Schaack and Matthew J. Ingrasci. Paratypes: MZFC-UNAM (MZFC 26407, MZFC 26409) and at UTAARDRC (UTA R-59763, UTA R-59764, UTA R-59765).|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis: The presence of nasorostral scales distinguishes the new species from all congeners except for species of the C. mitchellii complex. From C. mitchellii the new species differs in typically having more tail bands (range of mode or median between males and females of each species is presented for all comparisons: 5–6 vs 3–4), more dorsal body blotches (40–42.5 vs 32–34), fewer dorsal scale rows (23 vs 25), shorter ultimate supralabial scale (slightly longer than high vs twice as long as high), fewer supralabials (14 vs 16), fewer ventral scales in females (169 vs 180), fewer temporal scale rows (7 vs 8), colour pattern (mostly uniform colour pattern of slate or charcoal grey with indistinct blotches vs variable colour pattern), and smaller adult body size. From mainland popula- tions of C. pyrrhus the new species differs in having typically more dorsal body blotches (40–42.5 vs 33–34), fewer dorsal scale rows (23 vs 25), fewer ventrals (168–169 vs 176), fewer temporal scale rows (7 vs 8), fewer supralabials (14 vs 16), colour pattern (mostly uniform colour pattern of slate or charcoal grey with indistinct blotches vs extremely variable), and smaller adult body size. From C. angelensis the new species differs in having typically fewer dorsal scale rows (23 vs 27), more supralabials (14 vs 13), fewer ventrals (168–169 vs 182–188), colour pattern (colour pattern of slate or charcoal grey with indistinct blotches vs buff or pink ground colour with grey to russet hexagonal blotches), and smaller adult body size. From C. thalassoporus, the new species differs in having more tail bands (5–6 vs 3–4), more dorsal body blotches (40–42.5 vs 31–32), more interrictals (25–26 vs 22–23), more prefrontals (21–27.5 vs 18–20), and colour pattern (colour pattern of slate or charcoal grey with indistinct blotches vs fawn, pinkish or beige ground colour with indistinct rust-brown blotches).|
|Etymology||The specific name is a patronym honouring the late Gary A. Polis of the University of California Davis, a renowned arachnologist and desert food-web ecologist, who died at sea on 27 March 2000 when his research vessel capsised in a gale while returning to Bahía de Los Angeles from an expedition to Cabeza de Caballo Island. In addition to Polis, four other researchers, including postdoctoral fellow Michael D. Rose of UC Davis, and Takuya Abe, Masahiko Higashi and Shigero Nakano of Kyoto University, Japan, perished on that day. Four other UC Davis researchers and students survived the tragedy, and by their accounts, the deceased heroically gave their lives to help ensure their survival.|
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