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Melanophidium khairei GOWER, GIRI, CAPTAIN & WILKINSON, 2016

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Higher TaxaUropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymMelanophidium khairei GOWER, GIRI, CAPTAIN & WILKINSON 2016
Melanophidium punctatum — SMITH 1943: 66, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — GANS 1966: 10, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — MURTHY 1982: 120, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — MAHENDRA 1984: 58, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — GHATE & YAZDANI 1991: 463, fig. 1)
Melanophidium punctatum — MOLUR & WALKER 1998: 129, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — WHITAKER & CAPTAIN 2004: 54, in part; 55–57)
Melanophidium punctatum — MCDIARMID et al. 1999: 130, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — SHARMA 2003: map 8, 25–26, in part)
Melanophidium punctatum — KHAIRE 2006: 24–25)
Melanophidium punctatum — SRINIVASULU et al. 2013: in part) 
DistributionIndia (Maharashtra)

Type locality: Amboli, Sindudurg district, Maharashtra, India (15° 57’ N, 73° 59’ E, 715 m elevation)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: BNHS 3452, mature female, collected by M. Bhise, H. Ogale and R. Koregaonkar on 15 July 2006.
Paratypes (n = 7). Two paratopotypes, both female: BNHS 3199 (10 June 2002; V. Giri, V. Hegde and S. Kehimkar) and BNHS 3253 (15 July 2004; I. Agarwal, S. Kehimkar and V. Giri). From Patgaon, Kolhapur district, Maharashtra (16° 07’ N, 73° 57’ E, 620 m) one male (BNHS 3445) and two females (BNHS 3444 and BNHS 3446) all collected 4 July 2008 by V. Giri and colleagues. From Verle, South Goa, Goa (15° 03’ N, 74° 13’ E, 510m) one specimen for which sex not determined (BNHS 3472: 30 June 2010; V. Giri and colleagues). From “Jelewadi”, probably Telewadi/Talewadi/Talawade (Karnataka), “Goa Frontier” one male (BNHS 96: 13 October 19??; S.H. Prater). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A Melanophidium that differs from M. bilineatum and M. wynaudense in being piebald and punctate. Differs from M. punctatum in having fewer versus more than 13 pairs of subcaudal scales, in having 13 (versus 15) dorsal scale rows between the 20th and 40th ventral, and in having a short, dorsoventrally compressed (versus a much longer than wide, laterally compressed) terminal scute. See Gower et al. 2016 for further comparisons. 
Comment 
EtymologyNamed in honour of Mr Neelimkumar (“Anna”) Khaire, Director of the Katraj Snake Park, Pune, Maharashtra, India, in recognition of his contribution to the knowledge, appreciation and conservation of snakes. 
References
  • GOWER, DAVID J.; VARAD GIRI, ASHOK CAPTAIN, MARK WILKINSON 2016. A reassessment of Melanophidium Günther, 1864 (Squamata: Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the Western Ghats of peninsular India, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 4085 (4): 481–503 - get paper here
 
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