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Amphisbaena persephone PINNA, MENDONÇA, BOCCHIGLIERI & FERNANDES, 2014

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesPortuguese: Cobra-de-Duas-Cabeças-da-Terra 
SynonymAmphisbaena persephone PINNA, MENDONÇA, BOCCHIGLIERI & FERNANDES 2014 
DistributionNE Brazil (Goiás)

Type locality: fragment of Cerrado vegetation in Jatobá farm (13°53’S, 45°42’W, datum SAD 69), municipality of Jaborandi, southwestern region of the state of Bahia, close to the border with the state of Goiás, northeastern Brazil  
TypesHolotype: MNRJ 23581, Adult male, collected on 19 November 2008 by A.F. Mendonça and A. Bocchiglieri. Paratypes: Nine specimens collected at the type locality by A.F. Mendonça and A. Bocchiglieri: MNRJ 23582 (collected on 22 January 2008); MNRJ 23583 (collected on 23 January 2008); MNRJ 23584 (collected on 10 June 2008); MNRJ 23585 (collected on 26 July 2008); MNRJ 23586 (collected on 14 September 2008); MNRJ 23587–88 (collected on 18 November 2008); MNRJ 23589 (collected on 28 January 2009); MNRJ 23590 (collected in 2010). Most of the paratypes were collected at a large area of continuous Cerrado vegetation (MNRJ 23582, 23583, 23586, 23589, 23590), but two of them were collected at fragments of Cerrado vegetation (MNRJ 23587, 23588) and two were collected at a Pinus spp. plantation area (MNRJ 23584, 23585). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Amphisbaena persephone is diagnosable from all other congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) rounded snout; (2) slender body (Table 1); (3) lateral and dorsal sulci well visible; (4) two rounded precloacal pores medially located; () 230–241 body annuli; (6) 19–22 caudal annuli; (7) 12–14 dorsal and 14 ventral segments to a midbody annulus; (8) tail with a marked autotomic constriction at caudal annuli 6–8; (9) tail tip laterally compressed; (10) three supralabials followed by one postsupralabial, and three infralabials followed by one post- infralabial on each side of the head.
By the presence of two precloacal pores, Amphisbaena persephone differs from all the other rounded-snout species of Amphisbaena, except: A. absaberi (Strüssmann and Carvalho, 2001); A. anaemariae Vanzolini, 1997; A. brevis Strüssmann and Mott, 2009; A. carli Pinna, Mendonc ̧a, Bocchiglieri, and Fernandes, 2010; A. crisae Vanzolini, 1997; A. cuiabana (Strüssmann and Carvalho,2001); A. darwini Duméril and Bibron, 1839; A. dubia Müller, 1924; A. heterozonata Burmeister, 1861; A. hiata Montero and Ce ́spedez, 2002; A. leeseri Gans, 1964a; A. lumbricalis Vanzolini, 1996; A. miringoera Vanzolini, 1971; A. mitchelli Procter, 1923; A. neglecta Dunn and Piatt, 1936; A. roberti Gans, 1964c; and A. silvestrii Boulenger, 1902.
Among the species mentioned above, Amphisbaena persephone sp. nov. differs from A. absaberi, A. carli, and A. hiata by having no median hiatus between the precloacal pores (compared to pores separated from each other by a median hiatus in the latter species). The new species differs from A. anaemariae, A. brevis, A. crisae, A. darwini, A. heterozonata, A. mitchelli, A. neglecta, and A. silvestrii in having a greater number of body annuli (230– 241, compared to fewer than 220 in the latter species). The new species differs from A. cuiabana in having a smaller number of body annuli (230–241, compared to more than 280 in the latter species). The presence of a well-marked dorsal sulcus (at least after the first third of the body) in A. persephone sp. nov. differentiates it from A. dubia, A. leeseri, and A. lumbricalis (wherein no dorsal sulcus is present). Compared to A. miringoera, the new species has a smaller number of body annuli (20–264 and 230–241, respectively) and a laterally compressed tail tip (rounded in A. miringoera). Finally, A. persephone sp. nov. differs from A. roberti by having a laterally compressed tail tip (but without a distinct keel) composed of flat-surfaced segments and a marked autotomic constriction at caudal annuli 6–8 (compared to a distinct transversal keel composed of conical segments on the tip of the tail and a faint or absent autotomic constriction in A. roberti). Furthermore, A. persephone sp. nov. often presents a smaller number of body annuli (230–241) and dorsal segments (ca.12) to a midbody annulus (compared to 232–26 body annuli and 13–16 dorsal segments in A. roberti). 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017).

Morphology: This species is one of ~20 species of Amphisbaena with two precloacal pores (Ribeiro et al. 2019). 
EtymologyThe species is named after the goddess Persephone who, according to Greek mythology, became the queen of the underworld once she married Hades (the king of the underworld). The name is a reference to the fossorial habit of the species. 
  • Gonzalez R. C. et al. 2020. Lista dos Nomes Populares dos Répteis no Brasil – Primeira Versão. Herpetologia Brasileira 9 (2): 121 – 214 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Pinna, Pedro H.; Andre F. Mendonça, Adriana Bocchiglieri, and Daniel S. Fernandes 2014. A New Species of Amphisbaena Linnaeus, 1758 from a Cerrado Region in Bahia, Northeastern Brazil (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae). Herpetologica 70 (3): 339-349. - get paper here
  • RIBEIRO, SÍRIA; JERRIANE O. GOMES, HELDER LÚCIO RODRIGUES DA SILVA, CARLOS EDUARDO D. CINTRA, NELSON JORGE DA SILVA JR. 2016. A new two-pored species of Amphisbaena (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae) from the Brazilian Cerrado, with a key to the two-pored species of Amphisbaena. Zootaxa 4147 (2): 124–142 - get paper here
  • RIBEIRO, SÍRIA; VÂNIA SÁ, ALFREDO P. SANTOS-JR, ROBERTA GRABOSKI, HUSSAM ZAHER, ANDREI G. GUEDES, SHEILA P. ANDRADE, WILIAN VAZ-SILVA 2019. A new species of the Amphisbaena (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae) from the Brazilian Cerrado with a key for the two-pored species. Zootaxa 4550 (3): 301–320 - get paper here
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