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Sibon irmelindicaprioae ARTEAGA & BATISTA, 2023

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymSibon irmelindicaprioae ARTEAGA & BATISTA 2023: 10 
DistributionPanama, Colombia

Type locality: Cerro Bailarín, Pavarandó, Comarca Emberá-Wounaan, Panama (7.69385, -78.04267; 852 m a.s.l.).  
TypesHolotype: MHCH 3143 (Figs 3, 4b), adult male collected by Abel Batista and Milan Vesely, on 29 September 2011 at Cerro Bailarín, Pavarandó, Comarca Emberá-Wounaan, Panama (7.69385, -78.04267; 852 m a.s.l.).
Paratypes: MHCH 3145, adult female collected by Abel Batista and Milan Vesely on 26 September 2012 at Ambroya, Panama province, Panama (8.91680, -78.61779; 484 m a.s.l.). MHCH 3146, adult male collected by Abel Batista on 16 November 2012 at Cerro Garra Garra, Pavarandó, Comarca Emberá-Wounaan, Panama (7.76400, -78.10063; 655 m a.s.l.). MHCH 3111, adult male collected by Abel Batista, Madian Miranda, Orlando Garcés, Rogemif Fuentes on 15 October 2016 at Chucantí, Darién province, Panama (8.79773, -78.46225; 1295 m a.s.l.). MHCH 3120, adult male collected by Abel Batista, Madian Miranda, Michelle Quiroz, Marcos Ponce on 18 June 2015 at Pirré, Darién province, Panama (7.99695, -77.71040; 550 m a.s.l.). COLZOOCH-H 0792, adult male collected by Jhon Tailor Rengifo Mosquera on 6 March 2005 at El Afirmado, Chocó department, Colombia (5.64190, -77.07550; 216 m a.s.l.). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Sibon irmelindicaprioae sp. nov. is placed in the genus Sibon based on phylogenetic evidence (Fig. 1a) and on having the penultimate supralabial conspicuously higher than all other supralabials. The species is diagnosed based on the following combination of characters: (1) 15/15/15 smooth dorsals with enlarged vertebral row (1.5× as wide as adjacent rows); (2) loreal and prefrontal in contact with orbit; (3) 7–9 supralabials with, usually, 5th and 6th contacting orbit; (4) 8–10 infralabials with 3rd–7th in contact with chinshields, first pair of infralabials not in contact behind symphysial due to presence of postmentals; (5) 187–196 ventrals in males, 174 in the single female; (6) 110–128 divided subcaudals in males, 117 in the single female; (7) dorsal background color olive with maroon lateral body blotches or irregular bands (2–6 dorsal scales long) and a reddish tint along the vertebral line, ventral surfaces yellowish white with encroachment from the dorsal maroon blotches and with smaller blackish speckles and marks in-between the blotches, dorsal aspect of head variegated with a mixture of pinkish to maroon and pale olive yellow speckles, throat yellowish white with brownish blotches and spots, iris pale olive brown to rich dark brown; (8) 292–387 mm SVL in males, 402 mm in the single female; (9) 123–193 mm TL in males, 204 mm in the single female (Arteaga & Batista 2023). 
CommentBehavior: Snakes of this species are docile and never attempt to bite. When threatened, individuals may hide the head among body coils and produce a musky and distasteful odor. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet irmelindicaprioae is a patronym honoring Irmelin DiCaprio (1945–present), mother of Leonardo DiCaprio, long-time advocate and supporter of biodiversity conservation around the world. 
  • Arteaga, A., & Batista, A. 2023.  A consolidated phylogeny of snail-eating snakes (Serpentes, Dipsadini), with the description of five new species from Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. ZooKeys, 1143: 1-49 - get paper here
  • Fuentes, Rogemif; Aschcroft, Jesse; Erick Barría, Helio Quintero-Arrieta, Alexis Baules, Abel Batista, Eduardo Zambrano, Marcos Ponce 2023. Herpetological diversity in forests of Portobelo National Park, Colón Biological Corridor, Panama. Reptiles & Amphibians 30 (1): e18434 - get paper here
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