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Naja savannula BROADLEY, TRAPE, CHIRIO & WÜSTER, 2018

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesWest African banded cobra 
SynonymNaja (Boulengerina) savannula BROADLEY, TRAPE, CHIRIO & WÜSTER in WÜSTER et al. 2018: 81
Naia melanoleuca var. D — BOULENGER 1896: 376 (part.) (not HALLOWELL)
Naja “banded form” — HUGHES 2013: 128
Naja sp. 1 cf. melanoleuca (yellow banded dorsum) — TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014:318
Naja sp. 1 cf. melanoleuca (banded savanna form) — TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014: 336 
DistributionBenin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo

Type locality: Niénié, W Biosphere Reserve,
Benin, 11.05920 °N, 2.20488 °E, elevation 272 m  
TypesHolotype: MNHN 2018.0002, an adult male collected by Laurent Chirio on 31/03/2007 (Fig. 7). Paratype: BMNH 1975.657, a male specimen collected on the grounds of Amadou Bello University Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria, by D.A. Warrell. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Distinguishable from other species of the N. melanoleuca complex by the presence of 3 to 8 semidivided yellowish or whitish bands on the anterior dorsal forebody, becoming uniform black caudad; venter yellow with 2 to 8 black bands. Generally higher mean subcaudal scale counts than the other species. Genetically diagnosable through possession of unique mitochondrial haplotypes (cytochrome b: GenBank MH337597–602; ND4: MH337403–408) and unique PRLR and UBN1 haplotypes (PRLR: MH337501–504; UBN1: MH337532– 535). 
CommentDistribution: see map in Wüster et al. 2018: 81 (Fig. 6). 
EtymologyThe name is derived from the contraction of its savanna habitat and annulated colour pattern and was coined by Barry Hughes in an unpublished 1968 manuscript. Wüster et al. have retained this name at the request of Barry Hughes. 
  • WÜSTER, WOLFGANG; LAURENT CHIRIO, JEAN-FRANÇOIS TRAPE, IVAN INEICH, KATE JACKSON, ELI GREENBAUM, CESAR BARRON, CHIFUNDERA KUSAMBA, ZOLTÁN T. NAGY, RICHARD STOREY, CARA HALL, CATHARINE E. WÜSTER, AXEL BARLOW, DONALD G. BROADLEY 2018. Integration of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences and morphology reveals unexpected diversity in the forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) species complex in Central and West Africa (Serpentes: Elapidae). Zootaxa 4455 (1): 068–098 - get paper here
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