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Sibon marleyae ARTEAGA & BATISTA, 2023

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymSibon marleyae ARTEAGA & BATISTA 2023: 20 
DistributionColombia, Ecuador

Type locality: Verdecanandé, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador (0.52395, -79.01233; 344 m a.s.l.)  
Reproductionoviparous. One female from the type locality laid two eggs in a terrarium. After an incubation period of 80 days, one of the eggs hatched (Arteaga & Batista 2023). 
TypesHolotype: ZSFQ 5065 (Figs 2g, 5d, 8), adult male collected by Amanda Quezada, Eric Osterman, and Regdy Vera in December 2021 at Verdecanandé, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador (0.52395, -79.01233; 344 m a.s.l.).
Paratypes: MZUTI 3034, adult male collected by Jaime Culebras on 22 July 2013 at Reserva Itapoa, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador (0.51307, -79.13401; 321 m a.s.l.). ICN 10834, adult male collected at San José del Palmar, Chocó department, Colombia (4.96841, -76.22751; 1338 m a.s.l.). ZSFQ 5069, adult male collected by Jose Vieira, Daniela Franco, and Alex Mora on 4 December 2019 at Reserva Biológica Canandé, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador (0.49531, -79.17832; 560 m a.s.l.). ZSFQ 5067, adult female collected by Jose Vieira, Frank Pichardo, and Matteo Espinosa at Durango, Esmeraldas Province, Ecuador (1.04161, -78.62658; 245 m a.s.l.). CPZUV 04567, adult female collected by Andrés Gómez Figueroa at Tamboral, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia. CZI-R009, adult female collected by Santiago Orozco on 9 September 2018 at Campamento Yatacué, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia (3.57472, -76.87777; 598 m a.s.l.). CZI-R051, adult female collected by Santiago Orozco on 16 June 2019 at Represa Murrapal, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia (3.55283, -76.98077; 321 m a.s.l.). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Sibon marleyae sp. nov. is placed in the genus Sibon based on phylogenetic evidence 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 (up to 2× as wide as adjacent rows); (2) loreal and prefrontal in contact with orbit; (3) 7–8 supralabials with, usually, 4th, 5th, and occasionally 6th contacting orbit; (4) usually 8–9 infralabials with 2nd–6th in contact with chinshields, first pair of infralabials not in contact behind symphysial due to presence of two postmentals; (5) 186–204 ventrals in males, 176–193 in females; (6) 130–143 divided subcaudals in males, 109–128 in females; (7) dorsal background color olive to yellow with maroon (black in juveniles) bands (1–2 dorsal scales long mid-dorsally and 3–5 dorsal scales long on the lower flanks) and a reddish tint along the vertebral line, ventral surfaces white with encroachment from the dorsal maroon blotches, dorsal aspect of head composed of blackish symmetrical markings on a red background color, throat white with broad brownish blotches, iris rich reddish brown; (8) 308–464 mm SVL in males, 329–368 mm in females; (9) 167–233 mm TL in males, 175–183 mm in females (Arteaga & Batista 2023). 
CommentBehavior: When threatened, individuals may hide the head among body coils and produce a musky and distasteful odor (Arteaga & Batista 2023). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet marleyae is a patronym honoring a young nature lover, Marley Sheth, the 11-year old daughter of Brian and Adria Sheth, both long-time supporters 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
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