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Dipsas pakaraima MACCULLOCH & LATHROP, 2004

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymDipsas pakaraima MACCULLOCH & LATHROP 2004
Dipsas pakaraima — WALLACH et al. 2014: 233 
DistributionGuyana (Mt. Ayanganna)

Type locality: NE plateau of Mt. Ayanganna 5°24' N, 59°57' W, 1490 m elevation, Guyana.  
TypesHolotype: ROM 41233, adult male collected on 31 October 2000, by Roland Edward. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the genus Dipsas characterised by 15 dorsal scale rows, the mid-dorsal row slightly enlarged; four pairs of chin-shields, the first pair elongate; elongate loreal entering orbit; one preocular; six upper labials, with only one elongate upper labial posterior to those that enter the orbit; head narrow anteriorly, increasing in width posteriorly; eye visible from below. The new species can be referred to Dipsas because it possesses the following suite of characters: head distinct from neck; mental groove absent; tertiary temporals present; four pairs chinshields; posterior chinshields separated from lower labials by other scales; maxillary teeth angled inwards; pterygoids parallel, not diverging posteriorly; occurring in northern South America (Peters 1960).
Dipsas pakaraima can be distinguished from D. catesbyi by its 15 dorsal scale rows (13 in D. catesbyi), six upper labials (8-9), loreal entering orbit (not); from D. copei by four pairs of chinshields (three in D. copei), six upper labials (10-11), loreal entering orbit (not); from D. indica and D. pavonina by 15 scale rows (13 in D. indica and D. pavonina), six upper labials (9-11), four pairs of chin-shields (three); from D. variegata by one preocular (none in D. variegata), six upper labials (7-10), four pairs of chinshields (two or three). No other described species of Dipsas occurs in the Guiana region. 
CommentHabitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet refers to the Pakaraima Mountains of western Guyana, where the type locality is located. It is used as a noun in apposition. 
  • Cole, Charles J.; Carol R. Townsend, Robert P. Reynolds, Ross D. MacCulloch, and Amy Lathrop 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Harvey, Michael B. 2008. New and Poorly Known Dipsas (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Northern South America. Herpetologica 64 (4): 422-451 - get paper here
  • Harvey, Michael B. and Dirk Embert 2008. Review of Bolivian Dipsas (Serpentes: Colubridae), with Comments on Other South American Species. Herpetological Monographs 22 (1): 54-105 - get paper here
  • MacCulloch, R. D. & A. Lathrop 2004. A new species of Dipsas (Squamata: Colubridae) from Guyana. Revista de Biologia Tropical 52(1): 239-247 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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