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Gloydius angusticeps SHI, YANG, HUANG, ORLOV & LI, 2018

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Zoige pit viper
Chinese: Ruò ìr gài Fù 
SynonymGloydius angusticeps SHI, YANG, HUANG, ORLOV & LI in SHI, YANG, ZHANG, PENG, ORLOV, JIANG, DING, HOU, HUANG, HUANG & LI 2018 
DistributionChina (Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu, elevation 3150 – 3653 m

Type locality: Xiaman Village, Zoige Country, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province (33.74°N 102.50°E, 3569 m elevation),  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: IVPP OV2634 (JS1708G5C), adult male,
collected by Jingsong Shi, on 15 August 2017 (Figs. 1, 3 – 5). Paratypes (2 males, 6 females). HS13044 (allotype), adult female; HS13046, adult male, collected from Siguniang- shan Mountains, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in June 2013 (33.95°N 102.84°E, 3500 m), by Mian Hou.
JS1306G1A (Figs. 2 and 3) and IOZ002317 (G1B), adult females, collected from Banma Country, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, 3653 m, by Xinlei Huang, on 11 June 2013; JS1507G5A, adult male; IVPP OV2635 (G5B), juvenile female, collected from the same locality as the holotype, in July 2015GAugust 2017; MVZ216678 and MVZ216680, adult females. collected from 5.0 km north of Nasong Road (Wagen-Song- pan Road), Aba (Ngawa) Zang Autonomous Prefecture; Sichuan (33.05°N 102.62°E), 3150 m, by T. Papenfuss, R. Macey, on 4 August 1990 (Fig. 2). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The above mentioned specimens were identified as the members of the genus Gloydius based on their small body size, bilateral pits and divided subcaudal scales (Hoge and Romano-Hoge, 1981). The new species differs from other congeneric species in the following characteristics: (i) long and narrow head; (ii) 2 – 4 rows of discrete blackish brown spots on the back; (iii) a pair of round spots on the parietal scales (one on each side); (iv) a pair of arched stripes on the occiput; (v) small vaporous black spots on the ventral scales; (vi) up to 21 rows (occasionally 19 or 20 rows) of mid-body dorsal scales.
Gloydius angusticeps sp. nov. is distinct from species in the Gloydius blomhoffii complex by having three palatine teeth (versus four palatine teeth), and from the Gloydius halys-intermedius complex by having up to 21 rows of mid-body dorsal scale rows (versus generally 23 rows).
Comparison within the Gloydius strauchi complex. Gloydius angusticeps sp. nov. is distinct from G. strauchi by having 2 – 4 rows of small discrete spots on the back (versus four zigzag longitudinal strips) and slender head shape; differs from G. monticola by having 7 supralabials (versus always 6 supralabials) and >30 pairs of subcaudal scales (versus always less than 30 pairs); differs from G. rubromaculatus by having dark brown spots or ×-shaped patterns on the dorsum (versus large red crossbands), matt dorsal scales (versus glossy dorsal scales) and slender triangular head (versus oval head); differs from G. qinlingensis and G. liupanensis by its grayish brown body coloration (versus yellowish brown) and lacking of a lateral white line (versus obvious white line); differs from G. himalayanus by possessing an indistinct canthus rostralis (versus very distinct canthus rostralis, Gloyd and Conant, 1990).
 
CommentDiet. Gloydius angusticeps sp. nov. has been observed to prey on small lizards (Phrynocephalus vlangalii, G5A, from Zoige) and frogs (Rana kukunoris, G5B). Some captive specimens (G1A, P5, and G5C) accept new-born mice. 
EtymologyThe specific name “angusticeps” com- prises the Latin words “angusti-” (long and narrow) and “-ceps” (headed), indicating that the new species has a longer and narrower head comparing to other members in the Gloydius strauchi complex. The common name is suggested as “Zoige pit viper” in English and “Ruò ìr gài
Fù ( )” in Chinese. 
References
  • Shi, Jingsong; Diancheng Yang, Wuyuan Zhang, Lifang Peng, Nikolai L. Orlov, Fan Jiang, Li Ding, Mian Hou, Xinlei Huang, Song Huang, Pipeng Li 2018. A New Species of the Gloydius strauchi Complex (Crotalinae: Viperidae: Serpentes) from Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu, China Russ. J. Herpetol. 25 (2): 126-138 - get paper here
 
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