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Epictia rioignis KOCH, MARTINS & SCHWEIGER, 2019

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Epictinae, Epictini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymEpictia rioignis KOCH, MARTINS & SCHWEIGER 2019
Epictia rioignis — SUNYER & MARTÍNEZ-FONSECA 2023 

Type locality: Corinto, presumably Nicaragua (12°29′N, 87°11′W, see Koch et al. for further details.  
TypesHolotype: NMW 15446:6, donated by Steindachner in 1907.
Paratypes (7): NMW 15446:1–5, NMW 15446:7–8 from the type locality, donated by Steindachner in 1907.
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Epictia rioignis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) midbody scale rows 14; (2) midtail scale rows 10; (3) supralabials two, anterior one large and in broad contact with supraocular; (4) infralabials four; (5) subcaudals 14–19; (6) middorsal scale rows 250–267; (7) total number of precloacal vertebrae 231–248; (8) supraocular scales present; (9) frontal scale distinct, not fused with rostral; (10) striped dorsal color pattern with more or less triangular dark blotches on each scale; (11) upper half of eyes visible in dorsal view; (12) some caudals in posterior part of tail are fused in 50% of the specimens; (13) small white blotch in anterior part of dorsal surface of rostral present in about 83% of the specimens; (14) terminal spine and adjacent scales white. 
CommentSpecies group: E. rioignis is putatively assigned to the Epictia phenops species group based on external morphological characters and distribution. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an agglutination of the Latin nomen ‘‘ignis’’ which means fire and the proper noun ‘‘Rio’’ as an acronym for the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. This name was chosen in honour to the Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro/UFRJ, Brazil’s oldest scientific institution with the largest South American collections of zoology, anthropology, geology and paleontology. Many of the precious collections pertaining to the zoology department (mostly invertebrates), anthropology, geology and paleontology were completely destroyed in the disastrous fire in its main building on September 2nd 2018. Due to historical neglection of this institution from the Brazilian government, added with substantial funding decrease in the past 5 years the museum did not receive sufficient money to fullfil basic safety standards—such as fire protection.  
  • Koch C, Martins A, Schweiger S. 2019. A century of waiting: description of a new Epictia Gray, 1845 (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) based on specimens housed for more than 100 years in the collection of the Natural History Museum Vienna (NMW). PeerJ 7:e7411 - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier & José́ Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca 2023. An updated country checklist to the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. REVISTA NICARAGÜENSE DE BIODIVERSIDAD (100): 1-25 - get paper here
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