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Hebius lacrima PURKAYASTHA & DAVID, 2019

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Crying Keelback 
SynonymHebius lacrima PURKAYASTHA & DAVID 2019 
DistributionIndia (Arunachal Pradesh), China (Zhou et al. 2019)

Type locality: Basar (27.980559°N, 94.688496°E), West Siang District, State of Arunachal Pradesh, India, at ca. 600 metres elevation  
TypesHolotype: ZSI 610 (given as VR/ERS/ZSI), adult male. Collected by a villager, preserved in concentrated formalin and subsequently given to Jayaditya Purkayastha, 7 August 2010. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of the genus Hebius characterized by combination of the following characters: (1) body elongate; (2) tail amounting for 30.1 % of the total length; (3) 24 gradually enlarged maxillary teeth, followed, with a diastema, by 3 distinctly enlarged posterior teeth; (4) nostrils lateral; (5) internasals broad anteriorly; (6) 2 preoculars; (7) 1 anterior temporal, (8) 19–19–17 dorsal scale rows, distinctly keeled except scales of the 1st rows, smooth but distinctly enlarged; (9) 147 ventrals, not keeled (+ 2 preventrals); (10) anal divided; (11) 89 subcaudals; (12) a white stripe extending on the middle of supralabials from the edge of rostral and 1st SL to the anterior half of the 6th SL just below the eye; a second stripe, slightly higher on the labials and temporal regions than the first one, extends from the 7th SL to the 9th SL then beyond the angle of jaw to the nape, producing a short V-like chevron; (13) a dark area on the posterior half of 6th SL, separating the two white stripes; (14) dorsum dark greyish-brown variegated with blackish-brown blotches, without stripe or aligned dorsolateral dots; (15) venter ivory with a large, elongate blotch parallel to the body axis near the tips of each ventral, forming a discontinuous ventrolateral stripe. 
CommentHabitat: The single known specimen was obtained from a rice field alongside a hill slope in the outskirt of the city of Basar, so in a heavily disturbed area.

Genus: In the absence of molecular data, the authors could not ascertain the generic relationships of this new species which was tentatively referred to the wide-ranging genus Hebius as defined by Guo et al. (2014) on the basis of its elongate body, of the pattern of the venter and of its dentition on the upper maxilla i.e., three enlarged teeth separated by a short diastema from anterior maxillary teeth. Such a dentition is also found in species such as Hebius clerki and H. parallelus (see David et al. 2015). 
EtymologyThe species nomen derives from the Latin noun lacrima (-ae), meaning “a tear”, a reference to the dark area under the eye looking like a black tear which interrupts the white supralabial stripe. This species nomen is a noun in apposition and not an adjective. 
  • DAVID, PATRICK; ISHAN AGARWAL, RAMANA ATHREYA, ROSAMMA MATHEW,<br />GERNOT VOGEL & VIRAL K. MISTRY 2015. Revalidation of Natrix clerki Wall, 1925, an overlooked species in the genus Amphiesma Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa 3919 (2): 375–395 - get paper here
  • GUO, PENG; FEI ZHU, QIN LIU, LIANG ZHANG, JIAN X. LI, YU Y. HUANG & R. ALEXANDER PYRON 2014. A taxonomic revision of the Asian keelback snakes, genus Amphiesma (Serpentes: Colubridae: Natricinae), with description of a new species. Zootaxa 3873 (4): 425–440 - get paper here
  • Purkayastha, JAYADITYA; PATRICK DAVID 2019. A new species of the snake genus Hebius Thompson from Northeast India (Squamata: Natricidae). Zootaxa 4555 (1): 079–090 - get paper here
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