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Amphisbaena elbakyanae TORRES-RAMÍREZ, ANGARITA-SIERRA & VARGAS-RAMÍREZ, 2021

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAmphisbaena elbakyanae TORRES-RAMÍREZ, ANGARITA-SIERRA & VARGAS-RAMÍREZ 2021 
DistributionCololmbia (Casanare: flooded savanna ecosystem of the Orocué and Ariporo River basin; Vichada: drained savanna ecosystem of the Bita River basin).

Type locality: El Porvenir farm, Vereda La Colombina, municipality of Paz de Ariporo, department of Casanare, Colombia. Coordinates: N 6.043472222, W –71.09283333; elevation 140 m. a.s.l.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MLS 1901 a male collected by Teddy Angarita-Sierra, Marvin Anganoy-Criollo and John Jairo Ospina-Sarria, on 20th August 2012
Paratypes: MLS 1902 a female collected by Marvin Anganoy-Criollo in December 2012; MUJ 806 a female collected by Melissa Cuevas in July 2005 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Amphisbaena elbakyanae sp. nov., can be distinguished from all its congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) three supralabial scales; (2) three infralabial scales; (3) second supralabial scale longer than first and third supralabial scales, contacting first and third supralabial, temporal, ocular and prefrontal scales; (4) angulus oris lies in transverse plane passing through the posterior edges of the ocular scales and the center of the frontal scales; (5) second infralabial scale in contact with postmental scales; (6) six premaxillar teeth; (7) ten maxillar teeth; (8) one temporal scale; (9) absence of malar scale; (10) a single postgenial scale row with four segments; (11) postmalar scale rows with six to seven segments; (12) first body annulus includes one large segment on each side lying immediately posterior to inner parietal scales, abutting onto posterolateral edge of the outer parietal scales; (13) middorsal segments of second and third body annulus non-enlarged; (14) 245–257 body annuli; (15) 13–15 dorsal segments per annulus at midbody; (16) 16–18 ventral segments per annulus at midbody; (17) four precloacal pores; (18) autotomy sites located on sixth to eighth caudal annuli, (19) 20–24 caudal annuli, (20) rostral scale visible from above, (21) dorsal and ventral surfaces homogeneusly dark brown or dark brown-reddish, (22), and small body size 211–237 mm (Torres-Ramírez et al.2021).

Among all four-pored Amphisbaena species from South American, Amphisbaena cunhai, A. frontalis, A. gracilis, A. medemi, A. talisiae and A. slateri are the most similar species. Nonetheless, A. elbakyanae can be distinguished by having 245-257 body annuli (versus 226-239 in A. cunhai, 252-272 in A. frontalis, 224-248 in A. gracilis, 230-235 in A. medemi, 205-234 in A. talisiae, and 176-213 in A. slateri); 20-24 caudal annuli (versus 25-26 A. cunhai, 17-18 in A. medemi); a single postgenial scale row composed by four segments (versus two postgenial scale rows in A. medemi and A. slateri); absence of malar scales (versus a single malar scale in A. cunhai, A. slateri and A.talisiae); postmalar scale row composed by six to seven segments (versus nine segments in A. medemi); rostral scale visible from above (versus rostral scale non-visible from above in A. gracilis. Fig. 3A-B), first body annulus includes one large segment on each side lying immediately posterior to inner parietal scales, abutting onto posterolateral edge of the outer-parietal scales (versus first body annulus including two or three, large segments on each side lying immediately posterior to inner parietal scales, abutting onto posterolateral edge of the outer parietal scales in A. gracilis, Fig. 3A-B); middorsal segments of second and third body annuli non-enlarged (versus three or four middorsal segments of second and third body annuli enlarged in A. gracilis, Fig. 3A-B) and angulus oris lies in transverse plane that passes through posterior edges of the ocular scales and center of frontal scales [versus angulus oris lies in transverse plane that passes through posterior edges of the postocular scales and center of parietal scales in A. gracilis, Fig. 3E-F (Gonzalez and Gans 1971)]. Additionally, Amphisbaena elbakyanae can be distinguished from A. mertensii (one of phylogenetically closely related species, Fig. 1) by having four pre-cloacal pores and 245-257 body annuli (versus 6-8 and 210-250 in A. mertensii, respectively). Comparisons with the remaining four-pored Amphisbaena species are summarized in Table 2. (Torres-Ramírez et al. 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal and ventral surfaces from dark brown to dark brown-reddish; occipital, parietal, frontal, temporal, third supralabial, third infralabial, postmental scales, as well as postgenial and postmalar scale rows dark brown highly pigmented; rostral, prefrontal, ocular, nasal, first and second supralabial, mental and first infralabial scales dark brown faded (Torres-Ramírez et al. 2021).

 
CommentSimilar species: Amphisbaena gracilis is on morphology grounds the most similar species. However, Amphisbaena elbakyanae can be distinguished from it by having rostral scale visible from above (versus rostral scale non-visible from above in A. gracilis. Fig. 3A-B), first body annulus includes one large segment on each side lying immediately posterior to inner parietal scales, abutting onto posterolateral edge of the outer-parietal scales (versus first body annulus including two or three, large segments on each side lying immediately posterior to inner parietal scales, abutting onto posterolateral edge of the outer parietal scales in A. gracilis, Fig. 3A-B); middorsal segments of second and third body annuli non-enlarged (versus three or four middorsal segments of second and third body annuli enlarged in A. gracilis, Fig. 3A-B) and angulus oris lies in transverse plane that passes through posterior edges of the ocular scales and center of frontal scales [versus angulus oris lies in transverse plane that passes through posterior edges of the postocular scales and center of parietal scales in A. gracilis, Fig. 3E-F (Gonzalez and Gans 1971)] (Torres-Ramírez et al. 2021). 
EtymologyThis species was dedicated to the Kazakhstani scientist Alexandra Asanovna Elbakyan (Russian: Алекса́ндра Аса́новна Элбакя́н), creator of the web site Sci-Hub, for her colossal contributions for reducing the barriers in the way of science, as well as her reclamation that “everyone has the right to participate and share in scientific advancement and its benefits, freely and without economic constraints. 
References
  • Torres-Ramírez JJ, Angarita-Sierra T, Vargas-Ramírez MA 2021. A new species of Amphisbaena (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) from the Orinoquian region of Colombia. Vertebrate Zoology 71: 55–74 - get paper here
 
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