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Gyiophis salweenensis QUAH, GRISMER, WOOD JR., THURA, ZIN, KYAW5, LWIN, GRISMER & MURDOCH, 2017

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Higher TaxaHomalopsidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Salween River Basin Mud Snake 
SynonymGyiophis salweenensis QUAH, GRISMER, WOOD JR., THURA, ZIN, KYAW5, LWIN, GRISMER & MURDOCH 2017 
DistributionMyanmar (Mon)

Type locality: close to Sanpel Cave, Mawlamyine, Mon State, Myanmar (N16°22.427, E97°46.388; 44 m in elevation).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: LSUHC 12960, Adult female, collected on 8 October 2016 by Myint Kyaw Thura, Thaw Zin, Evan S.H. Quah, L. Lee Grismer, Perry L. Wood, Jr., Marta S. Grismer, Matthew L. Murdoch and Htet Kyaw. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Gyiophis salweenensis sp. nov. is separated from all congeners by having a unique combination of the following characters: a narrow rostral scale; the first three dorsal scale rows square; 129 (female) ventral scales; 30/29 (female) paired subcaudals; a divided cloacal plate; eight or nine supralabials; 10 infralabials; a maximum total length of 416 mm; relative tail length ratio of 0.13; a ventral patterning lacking a central spot on each ventral scale; the presence of a faint stripe on the lower, dorsal scale rows; and four rows of dark spots on the dorsum (Table 1).

Comparison. Gyiophis salweenensis sp. nov. is distinguishable from G. maculosa by the shape of the dorsal scales of first three rows (square vs. ovate), the ventral scale pattern (absence of a central spot on each ventral scale vs. its presence), and a stripe running through the scales of the lower dorsal scale row (faint one vs. absent). It is further distinguished from G. vorisi by its lower number of ventrals (129 vs. 142–152), lower number of subcaudals (30/29 vs. 41–58), shape of the rostral scale (narrow vs. broad), and the number of rows of spots on the dorsum (four vs. three) (Table 1). It differs from the other species of homalopsids found in Myanmar by unique suite of characters presented in the key below. 
CommentHabitat: The holotype was found at approximately 1930 hours crossing a narrow dirt road between flooded fields that we presume to be its natural habitat. The valvular nostrils located dorsally on the snout indicate this species probably spends a large part of its life in the water. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet salweenensis is in reference to area where the holotype was found which is close to the vicinity of the Salween River near the city of Mawlamyine. The suffix ensis is a Latin derivation meaning “from” or “inhabiting.” It renders the specific epithet an adjective that must be in grammatical accord with the gender of Gyiophis. 
References
  • QUAH, EVAN S.H.; L. LEE GRISMER, PERRY L., JR. WOOD, MYINT KYAW THURA, THAW ZIN, HTET KYAW, NGWE LWIN, MARTA S. GRISMER, MATTHEW L. MURDOCH 2017. A new species of Mud Snake (Serpentes, Homalopsidae, Gyiophis Murphy & Voris, 2014) from Myanmar with a first molecular phylogenetic assessment of the genus. Zootaxa 4238 (4): 571–582 - get paper here
 
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