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Trimeresurus arunachalensis CAPTAIN, DEEPAK, PANDIT, BHATT & ATHREYA, 2019

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Arunachal pitviper 
SynonymTrimeresurus arunachalensis CAPTAIN, DEEPAK, PANDIT, BHATT & ATHREYA 2019
Himalayophis arunachalensis — WANG 2020
Trimeresurus (Himalayophis) arunachalensis— MIRZA et al. 2023 
DistributionIndia (Arunachal Pradesh)

Type locality: near Ramda, West Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh, north-eastern India (27°15’ N 92°46’ E; 1876 m elevation)  
TypesHolotype: APF/SFRI-1871, male. Deposited in the collection of the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department (APF), State Forest Research Institute (SPRI), Van Vihar, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, India (note: this collection is different from ZSI-APRC); collected by Wangchu Phiang and Rohan Pandit under permit CWLGGG13(95)G2011-12GPt.VG1596-607 issued by the Chief Wildlife Warden, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, India. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Trimeresurus arunachalensis sp. nov. differs from all mainland Asian pitvipers of northeastern India and adjacent China except T. medoensis (i.e., from Ovophis monticola, Protobothrops himalayanus, P. jerdonii, P. kaulbacki, P. mucrosquamatus, Trimeresurus albolabris, T. erythrurus, T. gumprechti, T. popeiorum, T. stejnegeri, T. tibetanus, and T. vogeli) in having 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody.
Trimeresurus arunachalensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from T. medoensis by its distinctive hemipenis — unforked, slender, attenuate and with no spines visible to the naked eye (vs forked, spinose hemipenis with large spines); by its scales being acutely keeled (vs obtuse keels which are like ‘loose folds of skin’ — David et al., 2001); by its overall coloration being reddish-brown (vs. green); by having a white lateral stripe on the outer posterior edges of ventrals or sometimes the first dorsal scale row (vs. lateral stripe — red below, white above on first dorsal scale row); and by a reddish-brown eye (vs. green). Trimeresurus arunachalensis, though phylogenetically very close to T. tibetanus, differs from it morphologically in having midbody scales in 17 longitudinal rows (vs. 21, 19, or 20) and an unforked hemipenis with no spines visible to the naked eye (vs. forked, with large spines). 
CommentDistribution: Wang et al. 2020 listed Himalayophis arunachalensis for China, presumably assuming that the disputed areas in Arunachal Pradesh belong to China. The conflict is not resolved yet. 
EtymologyNamed after Arunachal Pradesh, India, a state that has yielded many notable herpetological discoveries. The type and only known locality is in Arunachal Pradesh, India. 
  • Captain, Ashok; V. Deepak, Rohan Pandit, Bharat Bhatt, Ramana Athreya 2019. A New Species of Pitviper (Serpentes: Viperidae: Trimeresurus Lacepède, 1804) from West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Russ. J. Herpetol. 26 (2): 111-122 - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2020. Liste der im Jahr 2019 neubeschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2020 (3): 44-67
  • Mirza ZA, H. T. Lalremsanga, Bhosale H, Gowande G, Patel H, Idiatullina SS, Poyarkov NA 2023. Systematics of Trimeresurus popeiorum Smith, 1937 with a revised molecular phylogeny of Asian pitvipers of the genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804 sensu lato. Evolutionary Systematics 7(1): 91-104 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
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