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Helicops nentur COSTA, SANTANA, LEAL, KOROIVA & GARCIA, 2016

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesPortuguese: Cobra-D’água, Dama-D’Água 
SynonymHelicops nentur COSTA, SANTANA, LEAL, KOROIVA & GARCIA 2016
Helicops nentur — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019 
DistributionBrazil (Minas Gerais)

Type locality: swamp in Fazenda Papa Capim (18.329398uS, 42.092017uW, 260 m above sea level [a.s.l.]; São José da Safira, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil (all cases, datum 5 WGS84) (for a map see Fig. 5 in Costa et al. 2016).  
TypesHolotype: UFMG 2486, an adult female collected on 8 November 2013 by Fernando Leal. Paratypes. Four specimens, all from the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, as follows: MZUFV 742, an adult female collected by Lício W. Assad, date unknown, at Jaíba (15.340270°S, 43.676862°W, ca. 480 m a.s.l.); MZUFV 960, a young male, collector unknown, February 1998 at CBIA (20.713650°S, 42.864917°W, ca. 640 m a.s.l.), urban area of Viçosa; UFMG 175, an adult female collected by V.X. Silva on 6 January 1999 at the campus of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (19.869395°S, 43.966480°W, ca. 820 m a.s.l.), Belo Horizonte; ZUFMS-REP 2291, a young female collected by Carmen Côrtes Santana Silva on 4 March 2013 at District of Macuco (21.145255°S, 42.493443°W, ca. 224 m a.s.l.), Muriaé. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Helicops nentur sp. nov. can be diagnosed by the following combination of characters: (1) dorsal scale rows 17–17–15, smooth on the anterior third of body, becoming weakly keeled posteriorly; (2) ventral plates in the male 115, in females 111–117; (3) subcaudals in the male 56, in females 41–52; (4) subcaudal keels absent, dorsal caudal scales keeled; (5) supralabials 8, third and fourth contacting orbit; (6) infralabials 9–10, the first to fifth contacting the first pair of chinshields, the fifth and sixth contacting the second pair of chinshields; (7) intergenials absent; (8) nasal entire; (9) preocular one; (10) postoculars two; (11) temporals 2 + 2 or 2 + 3; (12) maxillary teeth 18–21 + 2; (13) hemipenis bilobed, semicalyculate, semicapitate, with lobes covered by encircling rows of spinulate flounces, body covered by numerous spinules and a few spines arranged in more or less oblique rows; (14) dorsum uniformly medium brown or dark brown; (15) venter cream, yellow, or light brown (sometimes mottled with gray) with two medial rows of black markings, usually semilunar in shape. 
CommentComparisons: see Tables 3 and 4 in Costa et al. 2016: 161. 
EtymologyThe specific name nentur has its origin in Quenya, a fictional language created by the late writer and philologist J.R.R. Tolkien. In Tolkien’s mythology, Quenya is spoken by the Eldar, the High Elves of Valinor, which is a land in the blessed continent of Aman. The name nentur is formed by the words nen (water) and tur (ruler, master), meaning “master of waters,” which is a reference to the aquatic habits of Helicops. The name is treated as a noun in apposition.

Similar species: H. carinicaudus, from which it can be separated by the number of dorsal scale rows, ventral plates, and some details of color pattern. 
  • Costa, Henrique C.; Diego J. Santana, Fernando Leal, Ricardo Koroiva, and Paulo C.A. Garcia 2016. A New Species of Helicops (Serpentes: Dipsadidae: Hydropsini) from Southeastern Brazil. Herpetologica 72 (2): 157-166 - get paper here
  • Gonzalez R. C. et al. 2020. Lista dos Nomes Populares dos Répteis no Brasil – Primeira Versão. Herpetologia Brasileira 9 (2): 121 – 214 - get paper here
  • MORAES-DA-SILVA, ANTONIO; RENATA CECÍLIA AMARO, PEDRO M. SALES NUNES, CHRISTINE STRÜSSMANN, MAURO JUNIOR TEIXEIRA, ALBEDI JR. ANDRADE, VINÍCIUS SUDRÉ, RENATO RECODER, MIGUEL TREFAUT RODRIGUES, FELIPE FRANCO CURCIO 2019. Chance, luck and a fortunate finding: a new species of watersnake of the genus Helicops Wagler, 1828 (Serpentes: Xenodontinae), from the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands. Zootaxa 4651 (3): 445–470 - get paper here
  • Nogueira, Cristiano C.; Antonio J.S. Argôlo, Vanesa Arzamendia, Josué A. Azevedo, Fausto E. Barbo, Renato S. Bérnils, Bruna E. Bolochio, Marcio Borges-Martins, Marcela Brasil-Godinho, Henrique Braz, Marcus A. Buononato, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, 2019. Atlas of Brazilian snakes: verified point-locality maps to mitigate the Wallacean shortfall in a megadiverse snake fauna. South American J. Herp. 14 (Special Issue 1):1-274 - get paper here
  • Schöneberg, Y., & Köhler, G. 2021. Distribution and identification of the species in the genus Helicops Wagler, 1830 (Serpentes, Colubridae, Xenodontinae). ARPHA Preprints, 1, e67869 - get paper here
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