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Rhadinaea nuchalis GARCÍA-VÁZQUEZ, PAVÓN-VÁZQUEZ, BLANCAS-HERNÁNDEZ, BLANCAS-CALVA, CENTENERO-ALCALÁ, 2018

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymRhadinaea nuchalis GARCÍA-VÁZQUEZ, PAVÓN-VÁZQUEZ, BLANCAS-HERNÁNDEZ, BLANCAS-CALVA, CENTENERO-ALCALÁ 2018 
DistributionMéxico (Guerrero)

Type locality: 0.36 km SE of El Molote, municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez, Guerrero, México (17.4167°N; 100.1672°W), ca. 1720 m elevation  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MZFC-HE 22161, (original field number JCBH 015) an adult male, collected by J.C. Blancas- Hernández on July 19, 2006. Paratype. MZFC-HE 34958, (original field number CIG 1078) an adult male, from El Molote, municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez, Guerrero, México (17.4376°N; 100.1891°W), ca. 1680 m elevation, collected by Christoph I. Grünwald, Héctor Franz-Chávez, and Karen I. Morales-Flores on September 11, 2016. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A colubrid snake of the Rhadinaea decorata group (sensu Myers 1974) that may be distinguished from all other members of the genus Rhadinaea by the fol- lowing combination of character states: eight supralabials; 149–151 ventrals in males; 63–77 subcaudals in males; presence of two large pale nuchal blotches, forming an incomplete collar that occupies two scales laterally and bissected along the dorsal mid- line; postocular pale marking consisting of a well-defined and narrow line beginning anteriorly behind the upper posterior margin of the eye and extending posteriorly nearly horizontally until connecting with the nuchal blotches; and ground color of the flanks extending to the lateral portion of the ventrals.

Comparison. Rhadinaea nuchalis sp. n. may be distinguished from all other mem-
bers of the genus Rhadinaea (except R. cuneata and some individuals of R. hesperia and R. omiltemana Günther, 1894) by the presence of two large pale nuchal blotches form- ing an incomplete collar that occupies two scales laterally and is bissected along the dor- sal midline (pale nuchal marking one-scale long in R. laureata (Günther, 1868) and R. marcellae, absent in the other species). Rhadinaea nuchalis can be further distinguished from the members of the R. flavilata group by the presence of eight supralabials (usually seven in the R. flavilata group). Additionally, it differs from R. calligaster (Cope, 1875), R. forbesi, R. hesperia, R. marcellae, R. macdougalli, and R. montana by the presence of a well-defined, pale postocular line beginning anteriorly behind the upper posterior margin of the eye and extending nearly horizontally posteriorly until connecting with the nuchal blotches (pale postocular line oblique in R. calligaster [if present], R. forbesi, R. macdougalli, and R. marcellae; not connected with the pale post-cephalic markings in the other species [except for one side in one specimen of R. montana]).
Furthermore, Rhadinaea nuchalis can be distinguished from members of the R. vermiculaticeps group by having more ventrals in males (149–151 vs. 117–124 ventrals in males of the R. vermiculaticeps group). Rhadinaea nuchalis differs from R. cuneata by having less subcaudals in males (63–77 vs. 106–115) and by having a narrow pos- tocular pale marking in the form of a nearly horizontal line (postocular pale marking wedge-shaped in R. cuneata). Specifically, R. nuchalis differs from other congeners that inhabit Guerrero except R. myersi by having fewer subcaudals in males (63–77 vs. 110–137 in R. hesperia; 85–90 in R. omiltemana; 91–121 in R. taeniata Peters, 1863). Additionally, it differs from R. myersi, R. omiltemana, and R. taeniata by having the dark ground color of the flanks extending to the lateral portion of the ventrals (dark ground color of the flanks not reaching ventrals in R. omiltemana, occasionally and faintly so in R. myersi and R. taeniata). 
CommentGroup: Rhadinaea decorata group 
EtymologyThe specific name nuchalis comes from the Latin nucha, meaning nape. It makes reference to the large nuchal blotches present in the new species. 
References
  • García-Vázquez UO, Pavón-Vázquez CJ, Blancas-Hernández JC, Blancas-Calva E, Centenero-Alcalá E 2018. A new rare species of the Rhadinaea decorata group from the Sierra Madre del Sur of Guerrero, Mexico (Squamata, Colubridae). ZooKeys 780: 137-154 - get paper here
 
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