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Muhtarophis barani OLGUN, AVCI, ILGAZ, ÜZÜM & YILMAZ, 2007

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymRhynchocalamus barani OLGUN, AVCI, ILGAZ, ÜZÜM & YILMAZ 2007
Rhynchocalamus barani — WALLACH et al. 2014: 654
Muhtarophis barani — AVCI et al. 2015
Muhtarophis barani — ŠMÍD et al. 2015 
DistributionTurkey (Hatay Province)

Type locality: Amanos Mountain (36°50’N, 36°25’E; elevation 1310 m a.s.l.), 34 km E of Dörtyol, Hatay Province, Turkey Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
 
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: ZDEU 122/2006: 1 (Zoology Department, Ege University, Turkey). 
CommentDiagnosis: Rhynchocalamus barani n. sp. differs from congeneric species (R. melanocephalus melanocephalus, R. m. satunini and R. arabicus) in having higher number of dorsals (17 instead of 15) and lower number of ventrals (163–173 instead of 180–240) and upper labials in contact with eye (1 instead of 2) and by an oblique shape of the head at the anterior side. It also differs by a characteristic color-pattern of he body and the basic color of the head, by the presence of a black blotch under the eye running into a narrow stripe, all as described above. In contrast to other species of the genus the ground color of the dorsum is reddish brown with no spotting.

Type species: Rhynchocalamus barani OLGUN et al. 2007 is the type species of the genus Muhtarophis AVCI et al. 2015.

Diagnosis (genus): Muhtarophis gen. nov. is distinguished from other colubrin snake genera by the following combination of characteristics: having a wide and forward directed premaxilla bone and broad articulation between frontal, prefrontal and premaxilla bones, having narrow, elongated, flattened postorbital bones, bearing rear fangs on posterior maxilla separated from anterior teeth by an interspace, having round eye pupils, and having 17 dorsal scales at midbody and paired subcaudal scales. 
EtymologyThe new species is named in dedication to Prof. Dr. brahim BARAN of the University of Dokuz Eylül, Izmir, to acknowledge his prolific and uninterrupted contribution to the herpetology of the Turkey. 
References
  • Avci, A.; Üzüm, N.; Ilgaz, Ç.; Olgun, K. 2009. A new finding of Rhynchocalamus barani, Baran’s black-headed dwarf snake (Reptilia, Colubridae), in the Mediterranean region of Turkey widens its distribution range. Acta Herpetologica 4 (2): 177-182 - get paper here
  • Avcı, Aziz; Çetin Ilgaz, Mahdi Rajabizadeh, Can Yılmaz, Nazan Üzüm, Dominique Adriaens, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Kurtuluş Olgun 2015. Molecular Phylogeny and Micro CT-Scanning Revealed Extreme Cryptic Biodiversity in Kukri Snake, Muhtarophis gen. nov., a New Genus for Rhynchocalamus barani (Serpentes: Colubridae) Russ. J. Herpetol. 22 (3): 159-174
  • Olgun, K.; Avci, A. Ilgaz, C.; Üzüm, N. & Yilmaz, C. 2007. A new species of Rhynchocalamus (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae) from Turkey. Zootaxa 1399: 57–68 - get paper here
  • ŠMÍD, JIŘÍ; GABRIEL MARTÍNEZ, JURGEN GEBHART, JAVIER AZNAR, JAVIER GÁLLEGO, BAYRAM GÖÇMEN, PHILIP DE POUS, KARIN TAMAR & SALVADOR CARRANZA 2015. Phylogeny of the genus Rhynchocalamus (Reptilia; Colubridae) with a first record from the Sultanate of Oman Zootaxa 4033 (3): 380–392
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
 
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