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Wallaceophis gujaratensis MIRZA, VYAS, PATEL, MAHETA & SANAP, 2016

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesWallace’s striped snake/ Wallace’s racer 
SynonymWallaceophis gujaratensis MIRZA, VYAS, PATEL, MAHETA & SANAP 2016: 4
Wallaceophis gujaratenesis — MIRZA et al. 2016: 1 (in error)
Wallaceophis gujarateneis — MIRZA et al. 2016: 4 (in error)
Wallacoephis gujaratenesis — MIRZA et al. 2016: Figure 8 (in error)
Wallacophis gujaratensis — MIRZA et al. 2016: Figure 9 (in error)
Wallaceophis gujaratensis — MIRAZ & PATEL 2017 
DistributionIndia (Gujarat)

Type locality: Khengariya village, Viramgam taluka, Ahmedabad district, Gujarat state, India (23.0217946° N, 72.0217584° E), elevation 21m  
TypesHolotype: NCBS HA-105, male, collected by Jaydeep Maheta on 24th July 2014.
Paratypes. female BNHS 3503, collected form near Amreli, Amreli district, Gujarat state, India by Viral Joshi on 20th March 2013. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). A medium sized snake in relation to members of the family measuring SVL 250–930 mm differing from most colubrid genera in lacking hypapophyses on posterior dorsal vertebrae (Fig 2) and in bearing nine maxillary teeth and the posterior-most teeth are subequal, nine palatine teeth. Dorsal scale reduction characterized by vertebral reductions, increase of scale rows posterior to neck, a single lateral reduction at midbody and regular vertebral reduc- tions in posterior half of the body. Rostral not visible from above, a small presubocular present. Eight supralabials, fourth and fifth in contact with orbit, anal undivided, 215–216 ventrals, 51– 54 subcaudals, hemipenis subcylindrical, spinose throughout and 3–4 dorsal scale row wide black longitudinal stripe running from the post nasal to the tail tip on each side on a wheat colored dorsum.

Wallaceophis gen. nov. may be distinguished from most members of the family Colubridae in lacking hypapophyses on posterior dorsal vertebrae. This condition is present in racers and whip snake of the genera Platyceps, Hemorrhois, Spalerosophis, Hemerophis, Dolichophis, Hier- ophis, Eirenis, Orientocoluber, Coluber, Macroprotodon, Bamanophis and Lytorhynchus. Walla- ceophis gen. nov. differs from these genera in bearing unique vertebral dorsal scale reductions (vs. lateral reductions in Platyceps, Hemorrhois, Hemerophis, Dolichophis, Hierophis, Eirenis, Orientocoluber, Coluber, Macroprotodon, Bamanophis and Lytorhynchus); nine maxillary teeth (vs. 15–17 in Spalerosophis, 14–19 in Platyceps, 13–16 in Hemorrhois, 17–20 in Hemerophis, 16–18 in Hierophis, 16–26 in Eirenis, 15–19 in Bamanophis); presubocular present (vs. absent in Macroprotodon, Orientocoluber, Bamanophis). The new genus is closely related to the genus Lytorhynchus based on ~3047bp of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences however differs from it in having vertebral dorsal scale reduction (vs. lateral in Lytorhynchus); nine palatine teeth (vs. 3–5 in Lytorhynchus). 
CommentThe species name was misspelled multiple times in this paper, with the arguably correct name “gujaratensis” appearing only on page 4, with incorrect variations on previous and later pages. 
EtymologyThe proposed generic name is a compound of two words, the first being a patronym honoring Alfred Russel Wallace for his pioneering work on biogeography and for co-discovering the theory of natural selection with a suffix ‘ophis’ (όφιB) meaning snake in Greek. Gender of the proposed generic name is masculine.
The specific epithet refers to Gujarat state in western India where the new spe- cies was discovered. 
  • Kwet, Axel 2017. Neue Arten: Liste der im Jahr 2016 neu beschriebenen Reptilien Terraria-Elaphe 2017 (3): 54-70 - get paper here
  • Mirza ZA, Vyas R, Patel H, Maheta J, Sanap RV 2016. A New Miocene-Divergent Lineage of Old World Racer Snake from India. PLoS One 11 (3): e0148380;doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148380 - get paper here
  • Mirza, Zeeshan A. and Harshil Patel 2017. Back from the dead! Resurrection and revalidation of the Indian endemic snake genus Wallophis Werner, 1929 (Squamata: Colubridae) insights from molecular data MITOCHONDRIAL DNA A - get paper here
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