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Atractus acheronius PASSOS, RIVAS-FUENMAYOR & BARRIO-AMORÓS, 2009

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAtractus acheronius PASSOS, RIVAS-FUENMAYOR & BARRIO-AMORÓS 2009
Atractus acheronius — WALLACH et al. 2014: 68 
DistributionVenezuela (Sierra de Perijá)

Type locality: upper Río Negro Valley (2200-2400 m), Sierra
de Perijá, municipality of Machiques de Perijá (09◦ 52′ N, 72◦ 48′ W), state of Zulia, Venezuela.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MHNLS 398 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (short): Atractus acheronius can be distinguished from congeners by having 17 dorsal scale rows, presence of preocular scales, seven upper and lower labials, seven maxillary teeth, 166 ventrals in the single female, 23 subcaudals, dorsum brown with small dark brown dots, large body size, huge body diameter, and small tail size.

Description of the holotype: Adult female, SVL 160 mm, CL 12 mm (7.5% of SVL); diameter of body 7.3 mm (4.5% of SVL); cervical constrict evident; head arched in lateral view, sub-triangular in dorsal view; snout truncate in lateral view, round in dorsal view; rostral sub-triangular in frontal view, 1.1 mm wide, 0.7 mm high, slightly visible in dorsal view; internasal 1.0 mm long, 0.8 mm wide; internasal suture sinister with respect to prefrontal suture; prefrontal 2.2 mm long, 1.6 mm wide; supraocular sub-rectangular in dorsal view, about twice as long as wide; frontal sub-triangular in dorsal view, 2.4 mm long, 2.6 mm wide; parietal 4.2 mm long, 2.0 mm wide; nasal divided, nostril located between prenasal and postnasal; prenasal about twice as high as long; postnasal about twice as high as long; loreal 2.0 mm long, 0.9 mm wide, contacting second, third, and fourth supralabials; pupil sub-elliptical; two postoculars with similar size; temporals 1 + 2; first temporal about twice as long as high; upper posterior temporal elongate, 2.6 mm long, 0.9 mm wide, entire on left and divided on right side; eight supralabials, fourth and fifth contacting orbit; second supralabial higher than first and similar in size to third one; second and third supralabials smaller than fourth; seventh higher and eighth longer than remaining supralabials; symphisial semicircular, three times as wide as long; eight infralabials, first four contacting chinshields; first pair of supralabials in contact behind symphisial, preventing symphisial/chinshields contact; three gular scale rows; four preventrals; 153 ventrals; nine subcaudals; 17/17/17 smooth dorsal scale rows; dorsals lacking apical pits, supranal tubercles, and keels; nine (left side) and ten (right side) dorsal scale rows on the level of second subcaudal; caudal spine moderate, robust, conical, rhomboidal; maxilla arched in dorsal view, with 18 maxillary teeth lacking diastema; teeth large, similar in size, little spaced, curved posteriorly, angulars in cross section, slightly robust at the base, and narrower on the apices. 
Comment 
EtymologyNamed after the Acheron River in Greek mythology. According to the old Greek myth Acheron was tributary of the Styx River, in which the boatman Charon crossing the earth souls into infernal regions. The word acheronius is used herein in allusion to the type locality (= Black River in English) as well as in reference to the secretive habits of the new species. 
References
  • Natera-Mumaw, Marco; Luis Felipe Esqueda-González & Manuel Castelaín-Fernández 2015. Atlas Serpientes de Venezuela. Santiago de Chile, Dimacofi Negocios Avanzados S.A., 456 pp. - get paper here
  • Passos, Paulo; Rivas Fuenmayor, Gilson; Barrio-Amorós, Cesar 2009. Description of two new species from Venezuela in the highly diverse dipsadine genus Atractus (Serpentes: Colubridae). Amphibia-Reptilia 30 (2): 233-243 - get paper here
  • RIVAS, GILSON A.; CÉSAR R. MOLINA, GABRIEL N. UGUETO, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR L. BAR- RIO-AMORÓS & PHILIPPE J. R. KOK 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64 - 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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