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Trachischium sushantai RAHA, DAS, BAG, DEBNATH & PRAMANICK, 2018

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Sushanta’s Worm-eating Snake
G: Sushantas Wurmschlange 
SynonymTrachischium sushantai RAHA, DAS, BAG, DEBNATH & PRAMANICK 2018 
DistributionIndia (Jammu, Kashmir)

Type locality: “Jammu” (Jammu & Kashmir state, India)  
TypesHolotype: ZSI 25651A, National Zoological Collection, ZSI, Kolkata; adult female; from ‘Jammu’ (Jammu & Kashmir state, India); collected on 4th August, 1993, during Jammu survey; name of collector is given in register as ‘Rajtilok’. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Trachischium sushantai sp. nov. can be diagnosed by a combination of the following characters: a single nasal and PF, SL (R/L) 6/6, post-ocular 1, DSCH:M:V 13:13:13; VEN 152; SC 23 pairs of which those on anterior half of tail are as long as wide and regular hexagon/ rhomboid shaped, TAL/TL ratio of 0.11, head and dorsum uniform dark brown, venter brown with cream or yellow border on the trailing edges of VEN and SC.

Comparisons. T. sushantai sp. nov. differs from T. monticola in possessing 13 rows of dorsal scales (vs. 15 rows in the latter), undivided PF (vs. divided PF in T. monticola), 1 post-ocular (vs. usually 2 in the latter) and 152 VEN (vs. less than 125 VEN in T. monticola [Smith 1943])(Table 2). T. sushantai sp. nov. differs from T. leave in having 6 SL, 1 PF, 23 SC and a brown venter (vs. 5 SL, 2 PF, 29– 39 SC and a yellow venter in T. leave). T. sushantai sp. nov. can be diagnosed from T. tenuiceps by having a shorter tail (TAL/TL 0.11), 1 PF, 1 postocular, 23 SC of which the anterior ones are regular hexagonal or rhomboid and a brown venter (vs. TAL/TL 0.15–0.18, 2 PF and 2 post-oculars, 28–42 SC of which anterior ones are transversely elongated and yellowish or orange ventral coloration in T. tenuiceps). T. sushantai sp. nov. differs from T. guentheri by having a brown venter and 23 pairs of SC (vs. a coral red venter in T. guentheri and SC more than 30 in T. guentheri [Smith 1943]). The new species most closely resembles T. fuscum from which it can be distinguished by its shorter tail (TAL/ TL 0.11) compared to T. fuscum (vs. TAL/TL 0.13–0.18 [≥0.14 in 27 specimens] in T. fuscum), 23 pairs of SC of which anterior ones are regular hexagonal/rhomboid with 4SCW/L 1.05 and 5SCW/L 1.01 (vs. 30–44 SC in T. fuscum [31–41 in females examined by us], SC wider than long and are not regular hexagonal/rhomboid with 4SCW/L 1.33–3 [≥1.6 in 22 specimens] and 5SCW/L 1.27–2.7 [ ≥1.6 in 21 specimens] in physically examined specimens [specimens of T. fuscum examined from photographs too had SC number within the range given here and were distinctly wider than long]). 
EtymologyThe new species is named after Sushanta Kumar Das, father of the second author of present paper. He is an enthusiastic nature observer who have spent a significant amount of time of his life in forested areas of West Bengal (India) and nurtured the same interest in the second author. The specific epithet, a patronym, is a noun in genitive case. 
  • RAHA, SUJOY; SUNANDAN DAS, PROBHAT BAG, SUDIPTA DEBNATH, KOUSIK PRAMANICK 2018. Description of a new species of genus Trachischium with a redescription of Trachischium fuscum (Serpentes: Colubridae: Natricinae). Zootaxa 4370 (5): 549-561 - get paper here
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