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Gloydius lipipengi SHI, LIU & MALHOTRA, 2021

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Nujiang pit viper
Chinese: 怒江蝮 (Nù Jiāng Fù) 
SynonymGloydius lipipengi SHI, LIU & MALHOTRA in SHI et al. 2021 
DistributionZayu, Tibet, China

Type locality: Zawalong, Zayu, Tibet, China  
TypesHolotype. IVPP OV2720 (G2, Figs 1–4), adult male, collected from Muza Village, Zayu, Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet (2883 m), by Jin-Cheng Liu, on 8 September 2014. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The specimens of the new species, IVPP OV 2720, IVPP OV 2725 and IVPP OV 2726 were identified as the member of the genus Gloydius based on the small body size, bilateral pits, and divided subcaudal scales (Hoge and Romano- Hoge 1981). Gloydius lipipengi sp. nov. differs from other congeneric species in the following characteristics: i) third supralabial scale not touching the orbit; ii) a pair of prominent black markings on the occiput; iii) black-bordered greyish cheek stripe extending from the posterior margin of orbit (not separated by the postoculars) to the ventral surface of the neck; iv) black irregular annular crossbands on the mid-body; iv) two rows of black blotches on the ventral side; v) 23-21-15 circum-body scales; vi) 165 ventral scales; and vii) 46 subcaudal scales. (Shi et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Gloydius lipipengi sp. nov. and G. swild sp. nov. can be differentiated from the species in the G. blomhoffii complex by having three palatine teeth (versus four palatine teeth), from the G. halys complex by having 21 rows of mid-body dorsal scales (versus 22 or 23 rows). Gloydius lipipengi sp. nov. differs from other species in G. strauchi complex by the third supralabial scale not touching the orbit, from G. strauchi, G. huangi, and G. rubromaculatus by having large irregular black markings on the back (versus four irregular longitudinal stripes or discrete blotches in G. strauchi, complete dark brown patches in G. huangi, and large red crossbands in G. rubromaculatus (Wang et al. 2019), from G. monticola by having seven supralabials (versus always six supralabials) and more subcaudal scales (46 pairs versus always fewer than 30 pairs), from G. qinlingensis and G. liupanensis by its greyish brown body color (versus yellowish-brown body color) and lacking a lateral white line on each lateral side (versus possessing a lateral white line on each side). Gloydius lipipengi sp. nov. can be differentiated from G. himalayanus by possessing an indistinct canthus rostralis (versus very distinct canthus rostralis; Gloyd and Conant 1990). (Shi et al. 2021).

Color in life: Eye dark brown on the upper half while black on the bottom half, pupil black, vertical with light yellow margins; postorbital stripe wide, greyish brown and black bordered on the lower edge, extending from the posterior orbit to the ventral surface of the neck; supralabials and infralabials greyish brown, scattered with very small irregularly sized black blotches. One black triangular mark on the anterodorsal head, covering the caudomedial part of prefrontals. One bold black M-shaped mark on the dorsomedial head, covering the caudal part of lateral frontals, the lateral part of parietals, merged with the postorbital stripe at the largest temporal scale (but not covering the upper postorbital). The upper postorbital white while the top part of the bottom postorbital is black (covered by the postorbital stripe). (Shi et al. 2021). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet of the new species from Tibet is dedicated to the senior author’s Master’s supervisor, Professor Pi-Peng Li (Institute of Herpetology, Shenyang Normal University) on Li’s sixtieth birthday. Prof. Li has devoted himself to the study of the herpetological diversity of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The senior author became an Asian pit viper enthusiast and professional herpetological researcher under his instruction. 
  • Shi J-S, Liu J-C, Giri R, Owens JB, Santra V, Kuttalam S, Selvan M, Guo K-J, Malhotra A 2021. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of the genus Gloydius (Squamata, Viperidae, Crotalinae), with description of two new alpine species from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. ZooKeys 1061: 87-108 - get paper here
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