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Mimophis occultus RUANE, MYERS, LO, YUEN, WELT, JUMAN, FUTTERMAN, NUSSBAUM, SCHNEIDER, BURBRINK & RAXWORTHY, 2017

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Psammophiinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymMimophis occultus RUANE, MYERS, LO, YUEN, WELT, JUMAN, FUTTERMAN, NUSSBAUM, SCHNEIDER, BURBRINK & RAXWORTHY 2017 
DistributionNW Madagascar (Mahajanga)

Type locality: Madagascar, Mahajanga Province, Tsiambara Forest (-15.920716 S, 45.9886 E), 41 m elevation  
Reproduction 
TypesHOLOTYPE: UMMZ 237408 (RAN 68828 field number), adult male, on 20 April 2002, collected by J. Spannring, J. Rafanomazantsoa, and M. Rakotoarivelo
PARATYPES: UMMZ 209622 (RAN 38599 field number), juvenile male, Madagascar, Antsiranana Province, Montagne des Francais (-12.3000 S, 49.3167 E), 150 m elevation, on 31 December 1991, collected by C. J. Rax- worthy, A. Raselimanana, and J.B. Ramanamanjato; UMMZ 209625 (RAN 38969 field number), juvenile female, Madagascar, Antsiranana Province, Ankarana Reserve, (-12.9250 S, 49.1000 E), 119 m elevation, on 3 February 1992, collected by C.J. Raxworthy and A. Raselimanana; AMNH 176427 (RAX 12588 field number), adult male, from Madagascar, Antsiranana Province, Ankarana Reserve (-12.9311 S, 49.0558 E) on 7 February 2014, collected by B. Randriamahtantsoa, C.J. Raxworthy, and S. Ruane. 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: A species of Mimophis that can be diagnosed from M. mahfalensis by a combination of the following characteristics (see also Table 1): a narrow dark post-ocular eye stripe ≤2 temporal scales in width (vs. in M. mahfalensis post-ocular eye stripe >2 temporal scales in width, or indistinct and fused with the dark dorsal head colouration); 79-104 subcaudal scales (vs. in M. mahfalensis 44-88 subcaudal scales); and a generally larger tail length/SVL ratio of 0.33-0.43 (vs. in M. mahfalensis 0.20-0.36). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe species epithet occultus is Latin for hidden or concealed, referring to the cryptic status of this taxon and having been hidden in plain sight. 
References
  • Raselimanana, Achille Philippe 2018. Unusual predation events in Malagasy amphibians and reptiles Herpetology Notes 11: 659-662 - get paper here
  • Ruane, Sara; Edward A. Myers, Kahmun Lo, Sara Yuen, Rachel S. Welt, Maya Juman, India Futterman, Ronald A. Nussbaum, Gregory Schneider, Frank T. Burbrink & Christopher J. Raxworthy 2017. Unrecognized species diversity and new insights into colour pattern polymorphism within the widespread Malagasy snake Mimophis (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae). Systematics and Biodiversity, DOI: 10.1080/14772000.2017.1375046 - get paper here
 
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