Amphisbaena metallurga COSTA, RESENDE, TEIXEIRA, VECHIO & CLEMENTE, 2015
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Amphisbaena metallurga?
|Higher Taxa||Amphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata|
|Synonym||Amphisbaena metallurga COSTA, RESENDE, TEIXEIRA, VECHIO & CLEMENTE 2015|
|Distribution||Brazil (Minas Gerais)|
Type locality. Brazil: Minas Gerais: Conceição do Mato Dentro, semi-deciduous seasonal forest, ca. 18°54′ S, 43°25′ W, 700 m elevation, southern Espinhaço Range (Fig. 2).
|Types||Holotype: FUNED 2943 (Fig. 1A–G), collected in August 2009 or May 2010 (no specific date available), by Dimitri Lima Gouvêa and Sarita Pimenta de Oliveira.|
Paratypes. FUNED 2940–2942, 2944, 2945, 2947–2949, 2951–2960, UFMG 2080 (ex. FUNED 2946), 2081 (ex FUNED 2950), collected in August 2009 or May 2010 (no specific date available) by Dimitri Lima Gouvêa and Sarita Pimenta de Oliveira. All paratypes from the type-locality.
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. is diagnosed by the following combination of characters: (1) head round-shaped; (2) two or three precloacal pores sequentially arranged; (3) 190–199 body annuli; (4) 2–3 lateral annuli; (5) 23–25 caudal annuli; (6) autotomy plan on 7th – 9th caudal annulus; (7) 12–14 dorsal segments on midbody annulus; (8) 14–16 ventral segments on midbody annulus; (9) three supralabials; (10) three infralabials; (11) postmalar row usually present; (12) body slenderness proportion from 32.6 to 38.3; (13) dorsum of preserved specimens light brown, with cream intersegmental sutures; (14) venter of preserved specimens cream colored.|
Comparison with other species. The presence of two or three precloacal pores makes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. readily distinguishable from all South American congeners with the exception of A. absaberi, A. anaemariae, A. anomala, A. angustifrons, A. bilabialata, A. bolivica, A. brevis, A. caiari, A. camura, A.carli, A. cerradensis, A. crisae, A. cuiabana, A. darwinii, A. dubia, A. heterozonata, A. hiata, A. kisteumacheri, A. leeseri, A. lumbricalis, A. maxima, A. miringoera, A. mitchelli, A. neglecta, A. persephone, A. polystega, A. roberti and A. silvestrii. Among these species (characters inside parentheses), the rounded head easily distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. anomala, A. cerradensis, A. kisteumacheri, A. maxima, A. polystega (head shovel-shaped) and A. bilabialata (head keel-shaped). Therefore, these six species are excluded from following comparisons.
The rounded tail distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. trachura (caudal tip tuberculate), A. absaberi, A. cuiabana and A. roberti (tail with a terminal vertical keel). The rostral without median contact with prefrontals distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. carli (rostral in broad contact with prefrontals). The presence of precloacal pores arranged in sequence distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. absaberi, A. carli and A. hiata (precloacal pores separated from each other by segments).
The presence of 190–199 body annuli distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. absaberi (239–242), A. anaemaeriae (156–170), A. bolivica (200–231), A. brevis (139), A. caiari (233–250), A. carli (221–248), A. crisae (180–185), A. cuiabana (283–320), A. dubia (211– 231), A. hiata (202–213), A. leeseri (216–249), A. lumbricalis (225–247), A. miringoera (250–264), A. mitchelli (203–220), A. neglecta (151–161), A. persephone (230–241) and A. roberti (232–265). The presence of 23–25 caudal annuli distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. absaberi (14–15), A. anaemaeriae (18–20), A. angustifrons (12–18), A. brevis (9), A. camura (14–19), A. carli (10–14), A. crisae (20–22), A. cuiabana (17–21), A. dubia (13–18), A. heterozonata (13–18), A. hiata (17–19), A. leeseri (14–19), A. mitchelli (26– 29), A. neglecta (14–16) , A. persephone (19–22) and A. roberti (17–20). Autotomy in annuli 7–9 distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. absaberi (5–6), A. anaemaeriae (3–5), A. angustifrons (autotomy absent), A. bolivica (3–5), A. camura (3–5), A. carli (autotomy absent), A. crisae (4–6), A. dubia (autotomy absent), and A. neglecta (4–6).
The presence of 12–14 dorsal segments distinguishes Amphisbaena metallurga sp. nov. from A. brevis (18) and A. caiari (10). The number of both dorsal and ventral segments (12–14 / 14– 16) distinguishes the new species from A. absaberi (16–19 / 17–20), A. angustifrons (20–31 / 21–30), A. bolivica (27–38 / 26–36), A. camura (28–42 / 29–46), A. carli (20–23 / 18–23), A. crisae (10 / 10) and A. hiata (16–18 / 18–22). A summary of morphological characters for two-pored and three-pored Amphisbaena is provided in Table SI.
Despite the differences above mentioned, the new species is more similar to Amphisbaena darwinii, A. heterozonata, A. prunicolor, A. trachura and A. silvestrii in the traditional meristic data, but can be further distinguished by the following characters: From A. prunicolor by the number of precloacal pores (two or three in A. metallurga sp. nov. and four in A. prunicolor), and color pattern (light brown dorsally and cream ventrally in A. metallurga sp. nov., and dark brown dorsally and ventrally (sometimes checkered) in A. prunicolor) (see Perez et al. 2012 for pictures of A. prunicolor). From A. silvestrii the new species can be distinguished by the shape of the third infralabial (as long as the third supralabial in A. metallurga sp. nov. and about 1.5–2 times longer than the third supralabial in A. silvestrii), and color pattern (dark brown dorsally and ventrally in A. silvestrii). Additionally, A. metallurga sp. nov. usually presents a postmalar row (see Table I for exceptions), absent in A. silvestrii.
Specimens of A. darwinii, A. heterozonata and A. trachura usually present four precloacal pores, but some A. darwinii and A. heterozonata have two or three and some A. trachura have three pores, as in A. metallurga sp. nov. In this case, A. metallurga sp. nov. can be distinguished from A. darwinii, A. heterozonata and A. trachura by the color pattern. Dorsally, preserved specimens of those three species are dark brown, while A. metallurga sp. nov. is light brown. Additionally, A. trachura presents a tuberculate caudal tip, absent in specimens of the new species, and A. heterozonata has a fewer number of caudal annuli (see above).
Revised Diagnosis: Amphisbaena metallurga can be distinguished from A. albocingulata by having parietals shorter than frontals (parietals as long as frontals in A. albocingulata) and the post-malar row present in 93% of known specimens (absent in A. albocingulata). Although there is an overlap in the number of midbody ventral segments in the two species, the modal value in A. albocingulata is 17, while in A. metallurga it is 14 segments.
Amphisbaena metallurga can be distinguished from A. darwinii, A. heterozonata, and A. trachura by the number of midbody dorsal/ventral segments. Although there is an overlap in counts, the modal number of segments is lower in A. metallurga (range: 12–14/14–16; modal: 12/14) than in A. darwinii (range: 13–19/15–23; modal: 16/20), A. heterozonata (range: 14–24/15–28; modal: 16/18), and A. trachura (range: 14–21/16–24; modal: 16,18/22). Amphisbaena metallurga also has more caudal annuli (23–25) than A. heterozonata (13–18), and a smooth tail tip (tuberculate in A. trachura); and it is smaller than those species (maximum/mean SVL 179/151 mm in A. metallurga, 304/195 mm in A. darwinii, 277/201 mm in A. heterozonata, and 286/207 mm in A. trachura).
Amphisbaena metallurga differs from A. prunicolor in color pattern (uniform dark brown, sometimes with a checkered pattern in the latter), and in the modal number of ventral segments at midbody (14 vs. 16). It differs from A. hogei by having more caudal annuli (23–25 vs. 15–19) and larger size (max/mean. SVL 179/151 mm vs. 134/112 mm [based on the type series]). Finally, it differs from A. munoai by the lower modal number of ventral segments at midbody (14 vs. 16) and the absence of a concavity in the top of head where the prefrontals meet the frontals (Costa et al. 2019).
|Comment||Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017).|
|Etymology||The specific name of the new species is a transliteration of the Greek μεταλλουργος (metalloyrgos), meaning “miner” (Liddle and Scott 1996). It is here used as an adjective that agrees in gender with the generic name. The name refers to the fossorial habits of amphisbaenians, which use the head to dig underground tunnels like a miner. Paradoxically, this new “mining reptile” was found in the area where a slurry pipeline is being installed. “Miner” is also the translation of the Portuguese words “mineiro” and “mineira”, masculine and feminine adjectives referring to native inhabitants of the state of Minas Gerais, where the new species was discovered.|
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