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Gloydius rubromaculatus SHI, LI & LIU, 2017

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Red-spotted alpine pit viper, Tongtianhe pit viper
Chinese: Hóng Bān Gāo Shān Fù (红斑高山蝮) 
SynonymGloydius rubromaculatus SHI, LI & LIU in SHI et al. 2017 
DistributionChina (Qinghai, Tibvet, Sichuan), elevation 3300 to 4770 m

Type locality: mid-upper reaches of the Tongtianhe River, Qumarleb, Qinghai Province  
TypesHolotype: NZMC (originally IOZ, also given as ASIZB) 032317 (Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing) adult male, collected by Jingsong Shi (JS) and Xi’er Chen (XC) on 9 July 2016. Paratypes: NWIPB 790058 (allotype, adult female), IOZ 032318 (adult male), JS1607Y3 (subadult female), NWIPB 790056 (adult female), NWIPB 630064 (adult female), and NWIPB0512 (adult male). Referred specimens: NWIPB 17092:1, from Jyekundo, Qinghai Province; NWIPB 790060-790067, from Zhiduo, Qinghai Province. 
DiagnosisThe above mentioned specimens were identified as the members of Gloydius judging on their small body size, bilateral pits and divided subcaudal scales (Hoge and Romano-Hoge, 1981), while differ from other congeneric species in the following characteris- tics: 1. two rows of cardinal crossbands on the back, regularly spaced along the body; 2. glossy dorsal scales, compared to matte scales in other members of Gloydius; 3. colubrid-liked dome shaped head in lateral view and oval shaped in dorsal view, compared to flat-shaped head in lateral view and triangular in dorsal view in other Gloydius; 4. irregular small black spots dispersed on the head scales; 5. inconspicuous canthus rostralis; 6. dark brown eyes with black pupils (figs 1 and 2).
The new species is distinct from species in the Gloydius blomhoffii complex by hav- ing three palatine teeth (versus four palatine teeth); from the species in the Gloydius halys- intermedius complex by having 21 rows of mid- body dorsal scales (versus 23-rows). Thus, the new species is suggested to belong to the Gloy- dius strauchi complex.
Within the Gloydius strauchi complex, G. rubromaculatus sp. n. is distinct from G. mon- ticola by its 21-rows mid-body scales (versus 19-rows mid-body scales and 6 supralabials); from G. himalayanus by its indistinct canthus rostralis (versus very distinct canthus rostralis); from G. qinlingensis and G. liupanensis by its oval head (versus triangular head), regular crossbands (versus irregular crossbands) and the lack of the white line on each side of body (ver- sus obvious white line); from G. strauchi by its brownish black eyes (versus light brown eyes), and two rows of regular round crossbands (ver- sus four irregular longitudinal strips). 
EtymologyThe specific name of the new species is made up of the Latin word “rubro” (red) and “maculatus” (spot), indicating cardinal crossbands on the body. 
  • 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
  • Shi, Jingsong; Gang Wang; Xi’er Chen; Yihao Fang; Li Ding; Song Huang; Mian Hou, Jun Liu, and Pipeng Li 2017. A new moth-preying alpine pit viper species from Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (Viperidae, Crotalinae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 38 (4): 517 – 532;<br />DOI: 10.1163/15685381-00003134 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Wenjie Dong, Ke Jiang, Jingsong Shi, Cameron D. Siler and Jing Che 2019. A New Species of Plateau Pit Viper (Reptilia: Serpentes: Gloydius) from the Upper Lancang (= Mekong) Valley in the Hengduan Mountain Region, Tibet, China. Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 224-236 - get paper here
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