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Rhynchocalamus levitoni TORKI, 2017

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLytorhynchus levitoni TORKI 2017
Rhynchocalamus ilamensis FATHINIA, RASTEGAR-POUYANI, RASTEGAR-POUYANI & DARVISHNIA 2017
Rhynchocalamus levitoni — RAJABIZADEH 2018 
DistributionSW Iran (Illam)

Type locality: 1200-1400 m a.s.l. on the western slope of the Kabi-Koh mountains, Abdanan region, Illam Province, south- western Iran (33°02’N, 47°18’E).

ilamensis: Iran (Ilam Province); Type locality: Bina & Bijar No-hunting area (33.640668N, 46.038949E, 724 m asl), Ilam Province, Iran  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: MTD 49319, Adult male, leg. F. Torki on 31.v.2016, The specimen has been marked MTD (Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen, Museum für Tierkunde, Dresden, Germany), where it will be deposited.
Holotype: YUZM-CRh.1: road-kill, adult male, collected on June 6th 2011. Paratypes: YUZM-CRh.2: adult female, collected at Dinaar-Kooh preserved area (32.948156N, 47.333236E, 1383 m asl), Abdanan, Ilam Province, Iran on August 3rd, 2013.
YUZM-CRh.3: juvenile, collected at Dinaar-Kooh preserved area (32.952591N, 47.344166E, 1180 m asl), Abdanan, Ilam Province, Iran on August 3rd, 2013 [ilamensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of the genus Lytorhynchus, characterised by (1) rostral truncate, (2) high number of ventral and subcaudal scales (227, 69), (3) 1 preocular, 1 postocular, and temporals 1+1, (4) 15 longitudinal rows of dorsal scales at midbody, (5) without pattern on dorsal or ventral portions of body and tail except for one V-shaped band on neck and dark markings on the head.

Comparative analysis (Figures 3-4 in Torki 2017). In general L. levitoni sp. n. is readily distinguished from other species of Lytorhynchus in having a greater number of ventral, subcaudal scales and by its body pattern (Tables 1–3).
Lytorhynchus levitoni sp. n. differs from the diadema-group (including L. diadema, L. kennedyi, and L. gasperetti) by having a higher number of ventral and subcaudal scales, and absence of any pattern on the dorsum and tail (crossbars or blotches are always present in other members of the group). The new species is readily distinguished from members of the ridgewayi-group (including L. ridgewayi, L. maynardi, and L. paradoxus) by having a broadly truncated rostral. With respect to the species of Lytorhynchus that inhabit Iran, the new species differs in the following characters (see Table 2): postocular, preocular, temporal (anterior and posterior), dorsal scales rows, ventrals and subcaudals.
Lytorhynchus levitoni sp. n. further differs from L. diadema by the number of temporal (1+1 vs. 2+2 or 3), preocular (1 vs. 2 or 3), postocular (1 vs. 2), dorsal (15 vs. 19), ventral (227 vs. 170-191), and subcaudal (69 vs. 36-43) scales, and also by the colouration pattern (without pattern vs. blotches).
It differs from L. kennedyi by the number of dorsal (15 vs. 19), ventral (227 vs. 163175), and subcaudal (69 vs. 39-44) scales, by the tail length (79 vs. 56 cm), and by the colouration pattern (without pattern vs. blotches).
It differs from L. gasperetti by dorsal scales type (smooth vs. keeled), longitudinal rows of dorsal scales at mid-body (D2) and one head length anterior to the vent (D3) (vent in L. gasperetti greater than in L. levitoni sp.n. (D2:D3: 19:15 vs. 15:15 respectively)), preocular (1 vs. 3-4), postocular (1 vs. 2), temporals (1+1 vs. 2+2), upper labials (7 vs. 8-9), lower labials (8 vs. 10), dorsal scales (15 vs. 19), ventrals (227 vs. 157165), subcaudal (69 vs. 40-44), frontal scales shape (wider vs. extended).
Lytorhynchus levitoni sp. n. differs from L. ridgewayi by the number of temporal (1+1 vs. 2+2), preocular (1 vs. 3), postocular (1 vs. 2), dorsal scales (15 vs. 19), ventrals (227 vs. 173-188), and subcaudal (69 vs. 47-48) scales, and the shape of the frontal scale (divided vs. divided or single).
It differs from L. maynardi by the number of temporal (1+1 vs. 2+2 or 2+3), preocular (1 vs. 2-3), postocular (1 vs. 2-3), dorsal (15 vs. 19), ventral (227 vs. 190-199), and subcaudal (69 vs. 51-61) scales.
It differs from L. paradoxus by the number of temporal (1+1 vs. 2+3), preocular (1 vs. 2 or 3), postocular (1 vs. 2), dorsal (15 vs. 21), ventral (227 vs. 166), and subcaudal (69 vs. 50) scales.

Diagnosis (ilamensis): not provided

Comparisons (ilamensis). A number of meristic and multistate characters differentiate Rhynchocalamus ilamensis sp. nov. from its congeners (R. arabicus, R. melanocephalus and R. satunini): dorsum lemon in color (black in R. arabicus, yellowish brown in R. melanocephalus and pinkish in R. satunini); ventral white (black in R. arabicus, yellowish white in R. melanocephalus and pinkish in R. satunini); head uniformly lemon without marking(s) (uniformly black in R. arabicus and R. melanocephalus, and black transvers stripes on parietals and prefrontal in R. satunini); dark neck marking as a thin U-shape or two separated blotches (uniformly black in R. arabicus and R. melanocephalus, a thick transverse black marking in R. satunini); neck band not in contact with ventrals (unknown in R. arabicus; in contact with ventrals in R. melanocephalus, not in contact with ventrals in R. satunini); neckband not in contact with head or headband (unknown in R. arabicus; in contact with headband in R. melanocephalus; not in contact with headband in R. satunini); seven supralabials (4–6 in R. arabicus, 6 in R. melanocephalus, 7–8 in R. satunini); nine infralabials (8 in R. arabicus, mostly 7 in R. melanocephalus, mostly 8 in R. satunini). 
CommentSynonymy: Rajabizadeh 2018 synonymized Rhynchocalamus ilamensis with Lytorhynchus levitoni.

Habitat (ilamensis): limestone western foothills of the Zagros Mountains. Habitat cover is made of annual to perennial plants such as Gramineae (annual grasses), bushes and shrubs (Capparidaceae: Capparis spinosa, Cleome oxypetala; Caryophyllaceae: Gypsophyla linearifolia, G. pallida; Chenopodiaceae: Halocharis sulphurea, Noaea mucronata, Salsola imbricate; Compositae: Achillea conferta; Rosaceae: Amygdalus arabica), and sparse trees (Quercus brantii and Pistachia atlantica).

Sympatry (ilamensis: Agamidae: Laudakia nupta, Trapelus ruderatus; Lacertidae: Ophisops elegans, Acanthodactylus boskianus; Eublepharidae: Eublepharis angramainyu; Gekkonidae: Hemidactylus persicus, Mediodactylus heteropholis, M. ilamensis; Phyllodactylidae: Asaccus elisae; Scincidae: Ablepharus panonicus, Heremites auratus; Varanidae: Varanus nesterovi; Typhlopidae: Xerotyphlops vermicularis; Leptotyphlopidae: Myriopholis macrorhyncha; Boidae: Eryx jaculus; Colubridae: Eirenis persicus, E. punctatolineatus, E. coronelloides, Hemorhois ravergieri, Platyceps rhodorachis, Spalerosophis microlepis, Malpolon insignitus, Psammophis schokari, Telescopus tessellatus; Elapidae: Walterinnesia morgani; Viperidae: Macrovipera lebetina, Pseudocerastes persicus, P. urarachnoides. 
EtymologyThe species name honours Professor Alan E. Leviton for his great contribution to herpetology in the Middle East.
R. ilamensis was named after Ilam Province in Iran. 
References
  • FATHINIA, BEHZAD; ESKANDAR RASTEGAR-POUYANI, NASRULLAH RASTEGAR-POUYANI, HAMID DARVISHNIA 2017. A new species of the genus Rhynchocalamus Günther, 1864 (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae) from Ilam province in western Iran. Zootaxa 4282 (3): - get paper here
  • Rajabizadeh, M. 2017. Snakes of Iran. [in Farsi] Tehran: Iranshenasi, 496 pp. - get paper here
  • Torki, Farhang 2017. Description of a new species of Lytorhynchus (Squamata: Colubridae) from Iran. Zoology in the Middle East 63 (2): 109, DOI: 10.1080/09397140.2017.1299319 - get paper here
 
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