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Rhinophis lineatus GOWER & MADUWAGE, 2011

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Higher TaxaUropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Striped Rhinophis 
SynonymRhinophis lineatus GOWER & MADUWAGE 2011
Rhinophis drummondhayi WALL 1921
Rhinophis drummondhayi —DE SILVA 1990: plate 1F
Rhinophis sp. 1 — CADLE et al. 1990
Rhinophis lineatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 651 
DistributionSri Lanka

Type locality: Harasbedda (07°03’N, 80°52’ E), elevation 1,460 m, near Ragala, Central Province  
Reproductionviviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: CAS 226024, female, collected 26–30 October 1976 by Lalith Jayawickrama 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A Rhinophis distinguished from R. dorsimaculatus, R. oxyrhynchus, R. porrectus, R. punctatus and R. zigzag by having fewer than 200 ventral scales, and from the first four of these species by its middorsally transversely rounded rostral (vs a distinctly crested/carinate rostral). The new species differs from R. blythii, R. erangavirajei, R. travancoricus and R. tricolorata by having more than 170 ventral scales. The Indian R. fergusonianus and R. sanguineus differ from R. lineatus in having much larger tail shields, and rostrals that separate the prefrontals along less than half their length. In addition, R. lineatus lacks the conspicuous (but low) carinae on the distal ends of the scales on the underside of the tail of R. sanguineus, and is less attenuate than the only known specimen of R. fergusonianus (midbody width in length ca. 30–40 vs 42). Rhnophis philippinus has a much larger tail shield (longer than the shielded part of the head) than R. lineatus. In common scalation characters, R. lineatus resembles R. drummondhayi and R. homolepis most closely, but it differs from both these species substantially in its colour pattern; regular, narrow, longitudinal pale/dark stripes around and along almost the entire body (R. lineatus) vs striped venter but unstriped dorsum with short pale and middorsally incomplete cross bars (R. homolepis) or mottled venter and dark dorsum with lateral/dorsolateral yellow, dorsally tapering bars (R. drummondhayi). Indeed, R. lineatus is the only species in the genus characterised by a colour pattern of multiple, narrow longitudinal stripes around and along most of the body, a feature occurring in all known specimens. 
EtymologyThe species name is an allusion to the distinctive multiple longitudinal stripes. The specific epithet is considered a noun in apposition. 
  • Gower, D.J. & Mduwage, K. 2011. Two new species of Rhinophis Hemprich (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 2881: 51–68 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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