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Xenophidion acanthognathus GÜNTHER & MANTHEY, 1995

IUCN Red List - Xenophidion acanthognathus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaXenophidiidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Bornean spine-jawed snake
G: Borneo-Stachelkiefer 
SynonymXenophidion acanthognathus GÜNTHER & MANTHEY 1995
Xenophidion acanthognathus — LAWSON et al. 2004
Xenophidion acanthognathus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 803 
DistributionMalaysia (Borneo: Sabah, Sarawak)

Type Locality: Sipitang Dist., Mendolong, Sabah (Borneo).  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: FMNH 235170 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): members of the genus Xenophidion have a combination of character states (Günther & Manthey 1995) including the absence of premaxillary teeth; the presence of small, numerous, approximately equal-sized, aglyphous, weakly recurved palatine, pterygoid, and maxillary teeth; maxillae bearing a long, tapering palatine processes (Processus praefrontales), and a broad, long and thin ectopterygoid processes (Processus pterygoideus); ectopterygoids extending nearly to the middle of the maxillae and almost completely adhering to them; dentary with a bent anterior end and significantly enlarged caniniform tooth; undivided nasals extending ventrally from the midline of the rostrum to near the opening of the mouth; internasals absent, probably fused with prefrontals or nasals; prefrontals greatly enlarged, forming the largest scales on the top of the head; all dorsal head shields extending to the three bordering the prefrontals posteriorly approximately the same modest size, the three bordering the prefrontals are enlarged and possibly fused with the preoculars and the frontal (or parts of it); numerous sensory papillae located on most head shields and especially on the labial scales; loreals absent; suboculars absent; dorsal scales keeled with rounded tips; ventrals narrow; anal plate single; and subcaudals undivided. (Quah et al. 2018).

Diagnosis: This new species exhibits all of the features that were mentioned in the generic diagnosis. Its specific characteristics are the relatively strong keeling of the body scales (with the exception of the 1-2 rows bordering the ventrals and the posterior caudal scales) and with respect to the following species the greater number of undivided subcaudals (51versus 43); the smaller number of teeth on the palatine (8 versus 10), the pterygoid (13 versus 16), and especially the dentary (12 versus 19), as well as a large yellow-white patch on the neck. 
CommentWallach & Günther (1998) proposed to establish a new family, Xenophidiidae, for this genus, based on visceral anatomy. The Xenophidiidae are a sister family of the Bolyeriidae (Pyron et al. 2013).

Type species: Xenophidion acanthognathus GÜNTHER & MANTHEY 1995 is the type species of the genus Xenophidion GÜNTHER & MANTHEY 1995. 
EtymologyThe Greek word acantha means spine or thorn, the likewise Greek gnathos means jaw. The combination of the two words refers to the long, spiny palatine process on the anterior end of the maxilla, which is a distinguishing characteristic not only of this species, but of the new genus Xenophidion in its entirety. 
References
  • Günther,R. & Manthey,U. 1995. Xenophidion, a new genus with two new species of snakes from Malaysia (Serpentes, Colubridae). Amphibia-Reptilia 16: 229-240 - get paper here
  • Lawson, Robin; Joseph B. Slowinski and Frank T. Burbrink 2004. A molecular approach to discerning the phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic snake Xenophidion schaeferi among the Alethinophidia. Journal of Zoology 263: 285-294
  • Pyron, R. Alexander; H.K. Dushantha Kandambi, Catriona R. Hendry, Vishan Pushpamal, Frank T. Burbrink, Ruchira Somaweera 2013. Genus-level phylogeny of snakes reveals the origins of species richness in Sri Lanka. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66 (3): 969-978 - get paper here
  • QUAH, EVAN S.H.; L. LEE GRISMER, THOM JETTEN, PERRY L. WOOD, Jr., AURÉLIEN MIRALLES, SHAHRUL ANUAR MOHD SAH, KURT H.P. GUEK & MATTHEW L. BRADY 2018. The rediscovery of Schaefer’s Spine-jawed Snake (Xenophidion schaeferi Günther & Manthey, 1995) (Serpentes, Xenophidiidae) from Peninsular Malay- sia with notes on its variation and the first record of the genus from Sumatra, Indonesia. Zootaxa 4441 (2): 366–378
  • Rowntree, Neil, Griffiths, Jillian and Rowntree, Paul 2017. Geographic Distribution: Xenophidion acanthognathus (Bornean Spine-jawed Snake) Herpetological Review 48 (1): 132-133 - get paper here
  • Wallach, V. & R. Günther, 1998. Visceral anatomy of the Malaysian snake genus Xenophidion, including a cladistic analysis and allocation to a new family. Amphibia-Reptilia, 19 (4): 385-404 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
 
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