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Atractus akerios MELO-SAMPAIO, PASSOS, PRUDENTE, VENEGAS & TORRES-CARVAJAL, 2021

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAtractus akerios MELO-SAMPAIO, PASSOS, PRUDENTE, VENEGAS & TORRES-CARVAJAL 2021: 733
Atractus badius – CUNHA & NASCIMENTO 1978 (partim)
Atractus schach – CUNHA & NASCIMENTO 1983
Atractus schach – PASSOS & FERNANDES 2008 (partim)
Atractus schach – PRUDENTE & PASSOS 2008 (partim)
Atractus schach – PRUDENTE et al. 2018
Atractus schach – CUNHA & NASCIMENTO 1993
Atractus snethlageae – PRUDENTE et al. 2018 (partim) 
DistributionBrazil (Maranhão)

Type locality: Brazil, Maranhão, Junco do Maranhão, at Nova Vida (1.822°S, 46.109°W), 39 m asl,  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MPEG 12255, adult male, collected by O.R. da Cunha and F.P. do Nascimento on 1 June 1976.
Paratopotypes (n = 4): MPEG
Paratypes (n = 6): MPEG 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Atractus akerios can be distinguished from all congeners by unique combination of the following characters: (1) smooth dorsal scale rows 17/17/17; (2) postoculars two; (3) loreal moderately long; (4) temporal formula 1+2; (5) supralabials usually seven, third and fourth contacting eye; (6) infralabials seven, first four contacting chinshields; (7) maxillary teeth usually six; (8) gular scale rows three; (9) usually four preventrals; (10) ventrals 149–156 in females, 140– 154 in males; (11) subcaudals 19–20 in females, 24–33 in males; (12) in preservative, dorsum salmon colored to antique brown with russet spots; (13) in preservative, venter sayal brown with Verona brown spots; (14) body moderately long in females (maximum 360 mm SVL) and short in males (290 mm SVL); (15) tail short in females (9.4% of SVL) and moderately long in males (11.7–16.3% of SVL); and (16) hemipenes moderately bilobed (≥half the length of capitulum), semicapitate and semicalyculate (Melo-Sampaio et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Atractus akerios differs from A. pachacamac by having ≤156 ventrals in both sexes, ≤20 and 33 subcaudals in females and males, respectively, and <390 mm of maximum SVL (vs. ≥158 ventrals in both sexes, ≥30 and 39 subcaudals in females and males, respectively, and >400 mm maximum SVL in both sexes); from A. snethlageae by having usually four preventrals, 31–56 spots, light dorsal color with small dark spots, ≤20 subcaudals in females, and hemipenes presenting attenuated lobes without lateromesial expansion and with dispersed hooked spines entering the proximal region (vs. frequently three preventrals, 24–34 spots, dorsum Vandyke brown with light yellow ocher bands, ≥21 subcaudals in females, hemipenes presenting flattened, clavated or conical lobes always with lateromesial expansion and organs without hooked spine entering basalmost region); from A. dapsilis by having usually four preventrals, 31–56 spots, light dorsal color with small dark spots, ≤20 subcaudals in females, and hemipenes presenting attenuated lobes without laterosmesial expansion and with dispersed hooked spines entering the proximal region (vs. usually three preventrals, 24–34 spots, dorsum sepia with light bands, ≥21 subcaudals in females, hemipenes presenting flattened, clavated or conical lobes always with lateromesial expansion and organs without hooked spine entering basalmost region); from A. trefauti by having usually four preventrals, 31–56 spots, light dorsal color with small dark spots, ≤20 subcaudals in females, and hemipenes moderately bilobed without conspicuous capitular groove on both sides (vs. three preventrals, 24–34 spots, dorsum sepia with light bands, ≥21 subcaudals in females, hemipenes slightly bilobed with evident capitular groove on the asulcate side). We refer to Table 1 for additional comparisons between Atractus akerios and other Amazonian congeners (Melo-Sampaio et al. 2021).

Color in life: Unknown (Melo-Sampaio et al. 2021).

Quantitative variation (n = 10): Largest female 360 mm SVL, 34 mm TL; largest male 290 mm SVL, 43 mm TL; ventrals 149–156 (mean = 152.5; n = 2; SD = 4.9) in females, 140–154 (mean = 144; n = 9; SD = 5.1) in males; subcaudals 19–20 (mean = 19.5; n = 2; SD = 0.7) in females, 24–33 (mean = 29.2; n = 9; SD = 2.7) in males; supralabials seven (n = 23 sides) or eight (n = 1 side); preventrals one (n = 2), two (n = 1), three (n = 4) or four (n = 5); adult midbody diameter 5.6–7.4 mm; maxillary teeth six (n = 18 sides) or seven (n = 6 sides) (Melo-Sampaio et al. 2021). 
CommentSynonymy: from Melo-Sampaio et al. 2021 
EtymologyThe specific epithet "akerios" in the Greek means life-less. The word is related to the Greek goddess Keres, (Κῆρες) who personifies violent death and destruction. We draw a parallel, where this new species is named after the sudden disappearance in one of the main areas explored and well-studied in relation to Amazonian snakes. 
References
  • Cunha, O R da; do Nascimento F P 1983. Ofidios da Amazonia. 20 - As especies de Atractus Wagler, 1828, na Amazonia oriental & Maranhao (Ophidia, Colubridae). Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi NOVA SERIE ZOOLOGIA (No. 123): 1-38
  • Cunha, O.R. da and Nascimento,F.P. 1978. Ofidios da Amazonia. X. - As cobras da região leste do Pará. Publ. Avuls. Mus. Par. Emélio Goeldi 31: 1-218
  • Melo‐Sampaio, PR, Passos, P, Prudente, ALC, Venegas, PJ, Torres‐Carvajal, O. 2021. Systematic review of the polychromatic ground snakes Atractus snethlageae complex reveals four new species from threatened environments. J Zool Syst Evol Res. 2021; 59: 718– 747 - get paper here
  • Passos, P. & Fernandes, R. 2008. A new species of the colubrid snake genus Atractus (Reptilia: Serpentes) from the central Amazon of Brazil. Zootaxa 1849: 59–66 - get paper here
  • Prudente, Ana L.C and Paulo Passos 2008. New Species of Atractus Wagler, 1828 (Serpentes: Dipsadinae) from Guyana Plateau in Northern Brazil. Journal of Herpetology 42 (4): 723 - get paper here
  • Prudente, Ana Lúcia da Costa; João Fabrício Melo Sarmento, Teresa C.S. Avila-Pires, Gleomar Maschio, and Marcelo José Sturaro 2018. How Much Do We Know about the Diversity of Squamata (Reptilia) in the Most Degraded Region of Amazonia? South American Journal of Herpetology 13 (2): 117- 130 - get paper here
 
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