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Thermophis shangrila PENG, LU, HUANG, GUO & ZHANG, 2014

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesE: Shangri-La hot-spring snake
Chinese: Xianggelila Wenquanshe 
SynonymThermophis shangrila PENG, LU, HUANG, GUO & ZHANG 2014 
DistributionChina (N Yunnan)

Type locality: grassland at the forest edge (see Figure 1 B in PENG et al. 2014) near a hot spring about 500 m in Shangri-La, Northern Yunnan, China  
TypesHolotype: HSU (also as HUM) 20120001 (Museum of Huangshan University), adult female, captured at 12:30 on 23 August, 2011, when it was fast moving towards the forest. Paratypes: HUM 20120002, adult male, was captured on the forest path of the opposite hill (see Figure 1 B) at 15: 25, on 20 July, 2012, when it was basking on the path. HUM 20120003, adult female, was captured on the same path at 18:29, on same day, when it was passing through the path. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Thermophis shangrila sp. nov. is distinguished from all other species of Thermophis by number of maxillary teeth and external characters (Table 2). These three individuals all have 15 maxillary teeth, are distinguished from T. baileyi (21–24) and T. zhaoermii (16–17). T. shangrila sp. nov. is morphologically distinguished from similar species T. zhaoermii by several characters: a closer distance between the two eyes (distance between the two eyes/head width is 0.56 in females, 0.58 in male, vs. 0.59–0.61 in females, 0.64–0.73 in males), a wider rostral (rostral width/height is 1.70–2.40 in females, 2.10 in male, vs. 1.00–1.50 in females, 1.72–1.86 in males), and a wider mental (mental width/height is 1.85–2.05 in females, 1.45 in male vs. 1.45–1.77 in females, 1.15–1.30 in males). In females, a slightly longer head (head width/length is 0.62–0.65 vs. 0.68–0.71). In males, a more anterior occurrence of the reduction from 10 (8, 6) to 8 (6, 4) scales in each dorsal row on the tail (30 vs. 34.5–35, 49 vs. 52–61.5, 75 vs. 76.5–77).
CommentSynonymy: Hofmann et al. raised some doubt about the validity of this species.

Behavior: diurnal

Habitat: terrestrial 
EtymologyThe specific name refers to the type locality, Shangri-La County, Yunnan, China. 
  • Hofmann, Sylvia; Frank Tillack, Georg Miehe 2015. Genetic differentiation among species of the genus Thermophis Malnate (Serpentes, Colubridae) and comments on T. shangrila. Zootaxa 4028: 102–120 - get paper here
  • PENG, Lifang; Changhu LU; Song HUANG; Peng GUO; Yaping ZHANG 2014. A New Species of the Genus Thermophis (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Shangri-La, Northern Yunnan, China, with a Proposal for an Eclectic Rule for Species Delimitation. Asian Herpetological Research 5 (4): 228-239 doi 10.3724/SP.J.1245.2014.00228 - get paper here
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