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Achalinus yunkaiensis WANG, LI & WANG, 2019

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Higher TaxaXenodermidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Yunkai Mountain’s Odd-scaled Snake, Yunkai Mountain’s Burrowing Snake
Chinese: Yun Kai Ji She (云开脊蛇) 
SynonymAchalinus yunkaiensis WANG, LI & WANG in WANG et al. 2019 
DistributionChina (Guangdong)

Type locality: Dawuling Forestry Station (22.27580°N, 111.19524°E; 1,500 m a.s.l.), Maoming City, Guangdong Province, China  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: SYS r001903 (Figure 2), adult male, collected by Jian Wang and Honghui Chen on 10 April 2018.
Paratypes. Adult male, SYS r001443 (Figure 3, A1−A3), collected by Jian Wang and Zhao-Chi Zeng on 16 April 2016; juvenile males, SYS r001502, 1503 (Figure 3, B1−B3), collected by Jian Wang, Can-Rong Lin, Zhao- Chi Zeng and Chun-Peng Guo on 27 June 2016; and a single adult female, SYS r001902, collected by Jian Wang and Hong-Hui Chen on 10 April 2018; all from the same locality as the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. (1) dorsal scales strongly keeled, in 23 rows throughout the body, the most outer rows on both sides smooth and significantly enlarged; (2) tail relatively shorter, TaL/TL ratio 18.5–20.0%; (3) maxillary teeth 20–22; (4) length of suture between internasals subequal to that between the prefrontals; (5) nasal divided into two sections by nasal cleft, posterior one nearly half as long as anterior, LaSN/LpSN 0.4–0.5; (6) loreal elongated, nearly twice as wide as high, HiL/LeL 0.5–0.6; (7) supralabials six, the fourth and fifth ones widely in contact with eye; (8) in- fralabials six, the first three (rarely the first four) in contact with the first pair of chin shields; (9) temporals 2+2+3 (rarely 2+2+4), the two anterior temporals in contact with eye; (10) ventrals 151–162, subcaudals 49–56 arranged in single row, not paired; (11) cloacal entire; (12) uniform brown (in adults) or black (in juveniles) above, tinged weakly iridescent, with a longitudinal dark-colored vertebral line; (13) light brown (in adults) or greyish white (in juveniles) beneath; and (14) dorsum with a longitudinal dark brown vertebral stripe from posterior margin of pari- etals to tail tip.

Comparisons. Coloration of adults of Achalinus yunkaiensis sp. nov. is most similar to that of A. rufescens (Figure 3), and the new species can be distinguished from the examined specimens of A. rufescens by less maxillary teeth, MT 20–22 (vs. 23–25 in A. rufescens), more ventrals in a single female, V 156 (vs. V 132–140 in females of A. rufescens), more infralabials, IFL 6 (vs. IFL 5 in A. rufescens), length of suture between internasals subequal to that between the prefrontals (vs. distinctly longer than that between prefrontals in A. rufescens), nasal section behind nasal cleft nearly half as long as those before nasal cleft, LaSN/LpSN 0.4–0.5 (vs. nearly subequal in A. rufescens, LaSN/LpSN 0.9–1.2); loreal nearly twice as wide as high, HiL/LeL 0.5–0.6 (vs. nearly subequal in A. rufescens, HiL/LeL 0.8–1.0), moreover, the new species can be distinguished from the holotype of A. rufescens by SPL 6, the 4th–5th in contact with eye (vs. SPL 5, the 3rd–4th in contact with eye), IFL 6 (vs. IFL 5), both of the two anterior temporals in contact with eye (vs. only the upper on in contact with eye), V 151–162 (vs. V136), SC 56–59 (vs. SC 82); details see Table 4.
Coloration of juveniles of Achalinus yunkaiensis sp. nov. is most similar to that of A. spinalis and A. ater, and the new species can be distinguished by the coloration of adult individuals, dorsum brown (vs. dorsum black in A. spinalis and A. ater) (Figure 3); venter light brown in adults and greyish white in juveniles (vs. venter black brown in A. spinalis and A. ater); presence of a longitudinal mid-dorsal stripe (vs. absence in A. spinalis and A. ater); length of suture between internasals subequal to that between the prefrontals (vs. shorter in A. spinalis and A. ater).
In having 23 mid-dorsal scale rows and presence of internasals, Achalinus yunkaiensis sp. nov. can be easily distinguished by A. fomosanus (mid-dorsal scale rows 27, lacking internasals), A. hainanus (lacking internasals), A. meiguensis (mid-dorsal scale rows 19–21, lacking internasals), and A. niger (mid-dorsal scale rows 27). A. yunkaiensis sp. nov. further differs from A. jinggangensis by having a single loreal, length of suture between inter- nasals equal to that between the prefrontals (vs. loreal absent, length of suture between internasals distinctly longer than that between prefrontals in A. jinggangensis).
Achalinus yunkaiensis sp. nov. can be easily distinguished from A. emilyae, A. juliani and A. timi, which are currently recorded from northern Vietnam, as followed: having 23 mid-dorsal scale rows (vs. mid-dorsal scale rows 25 in A. timi); presence of a single loreal (vs. loreal absent in A. timi); length of suture between internasals equal to that between the prefrontals (vs. length of suture between internasals distinctly longer than that between prefrontals in A. emilyae, A. juliani and A. timi); less maxillary teeth, MT 20–22 (vs. MT 27–28 in A. emilyae, MT 28 in A. juliani, and MT 27 in A. timi); infralabials six (vs. IFL 5 in A. emilyae).
Achalinus yunkaiensis sp. nov. differs from A. werneri by the relatively shorter tail length, TaL/TL ratio 18.5– 20.0% (vs. TaL/TL ratio 25.0–30.0% in A. werneri); temporals 2+2+3 (seldom 2+2+4) (vs. temporals 2+2 in A. werneri); subcaudals 49–56 (vs. subcaudals 67–98 in A. werneri). 
CommentHabitat: leaf litter in well-preserved montane evergreen broadleaf forest (900–1,600 m a.s.l.). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet, yunkaiensis, is in reference to the type locality, Dawuling Forestry Station and adjacent Xianrendong Scenic Area in Guangdong Province, China located in the Yunkai Mountains. 
References
  • WANG, JIAN; YAO LI, ZHAO-CHI ZENG, ZHI-TONG LYU, YIK-HEI SUNG, YOU-YU LI, CHAO-YU LIN, YING-YONG WANG 2019. A new species of the genus Achalinus from southwestern Guangdong Province, China (Squamata: Xenodermatidae). Zootaxa 4674 (4): 471-481
  • 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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