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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) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymHelicops nentur COSTA, SANTANA, LEAL, KOROIVA & GARCIA 2016 
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).  
Reproductionviviparous 
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. 
CommentDiagnosis.—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.

Comparisons: 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. 
References
  • 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 Jun 2016, Vol. 72, No. 2: 157-166
 
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