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Atractus tartarus PASSOS, PRUDENTE & LYNCH, 2016

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymAtractus tartarus PASSOS, PRUDENTE & LYNCH 2016
Atractus insipidus — CUNHA & NASCIMENTO 1983:10
Atractus tartarus — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019 
DistributionBrazil (Pará)

Type locality: Vila Palestina (04°40’S, 47°56’W, elevation ca. 200 m asl), municipality of Rondon do Pará, state of Pará, Brazil  
TypesHolotype: MNRJ 16511, adult male collected by R.S. Bérnils, H. Wogel, and P.S. Abe on 07 February 2008 (Fig. 9). Paratypes. Fifteen specimens, all from the state of Pará in Brazil, except for adult female (MPEG 336) collected by J. Davis at Belém–Brasília Highway, municipality of Carolina (07°20’ S, 47°28’ W, ca. 155 m asl), state of Maranhão. Juvenile male (CHUFC 1386) collected by R.B. Marques on 08 October 1988 at ESSEX Mining, near Igarapé Jabuti (04°14’S, 53°28’W, ca. 150 m asl); adult male (MNRJ 18035) collected by R.B. Castro, P. Yumi, and B. Ueoka on 26 October 2008 and adult female (MNRJ 18039) collected on 29 January 2009 at municipality of Parauape ́bas (068040S, 498540W, ca. 170 m asl); adult male (MPEG 22991) collected on 12 November 2004 by Elildo Jr. at Barragem da Pêra (06°02’S, 50°08’W), municipality of Parauapébas; adult male (IBSP 47078) from municipality of Tucurúı (03°46’S, 49°40’W, ca. 60 m asl); adult male (MNRJ 24363) collected on 25 July 2013 and female (MNRJ 24364) collected on 03 August 2013 by W. Vaz during the faunal rescue from Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant at municipality of Vito ́ria do Xingu ́ (028530S, 528000W, ca. 15 m asl); adult male (MUFAL 10445, a damaged specimen without head) collected on 04 May 2011, adult male (MUFAL 10462) and female (MUFAL 10447) collected on 30 June 2011 at Floresta Nacional de Caraja ́s (068000S, 508300W, ca. 400 m asl), municipality of Parauape ́bas; adult (MPEG 23929) and juvenile (MPEG 23931) females collected on 06 November 2009 and juvenile male (MPEG 23930) collected on 27 November 2009 at Floresta Nacional do Tapirapé-Aquiri (05°35’S, 50°24’W), municipality of Marabá; and adult female (MPEG 12373) collected at municipality of Canaã de Carajás (06°32’S, 49°51’W, ca. 300 m asl). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Atractus tartarus can be distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) smooth dorsal scale rows 15/15/15; (2) postoculars two; (3) loreal moderately long; (4) temporal formulae usually 1þ2; (5) supralabials seven, third and fourth contacting eye; (6) infralabials seven, first four contacting chinshields; (7) maxillary teeth nine to eleven; (8) gular scale rows three; (9) preventrals one or two; (10) ventrals 154–169 in females, 146–157 in males; (11) subcaudals 23–31 in females, 29–38 in males; (12) in preservative, dorsum, varying from beige to brown with a series of small black spots or irregular black blotches light-bordered more or less conspicuously; (13) in preservative, venter uniformly creamish white or with brown dots on the lateral portions of ventral scales; (14) maximum body size large in females (570 mm SVL), moderately long in males (365 mm SVL); (15) tail moderately long in females (9.7–13.6% SVL), long in males (15.5–18.1% SVL); (16) hemipenis moderately bilobed, semicapitate, and semi-calyculate.

Comparisons.—Among all congeners, A. tartarus shares only with A. boimirim and A. punctiventris 15 dorsal scale rows, a beige to brown dorsum with black marks (spots or blotches) frequently light-bordered on the flanks, seven upper and lower labials, and a creamish white venter frequently with longitudinal lines caused by regular arrange- ment of the dots, blotches, or both. Atractus tartarus differs from both species by having nine to eleven maxillary teeth (vs. five to six maxillary teeth in A. punctiventris and seven maxillary teeth in A. boimirim). Additionally, A. tartarus differs from A. boimirim by having a semicapitate and strongly calyculate hemipenis and lacking a black descending postocular stripe (vs. hemipenis noncapitate and with few well-defined lobular calyces and presence of a conspicuous black descending postocular stripe) and distinct values in the meristic and morphometric characters examined (Table 1); from A. punctiventris by having four infralabials in contact species shares 15 dorsal scale rows with the following congeners found in these provinces: A. albuquerquei, A. avernus, A. boettgeri, A. charitoae, A. edioi, A. elaps, A. emmeli, A. franciscopaivai, A. heliobelluomini, A. occipitoal- bus, A. orcesi, A. paravertebralis, A. poeppigi, A. taeniatus, and A. trilineatus. Atractus tartarus differs from all of them by having a pale brown dorsum with white-bordered dark brown spots or wide blotches, paraventral region with irregular black spots on the first three dorsal scale rows, and venter uniformly creamish white or with small brown dots laterally arranged (vs. dorsum variable but never with dorsal blotches, paraventral region with irregular spots, and belly creamish white with few dots arranged in lines). 
EtymologyNamed after the Latinized substantive derived from the Greek word Tartaro (Taqsaqo). According to some Greek legends, Tartaros is a primordial god born from original Chaos. His relations with Gaia (one of the primordial deities, the personification of Earth in ancient Greek myths) generated the most-terrible beasts from Greek mythology. From another literary source, in the historical novel Iliad, Homer refers to Tartarus (Latin spelling) as an underground prison ‘‘as below Hades (Lord of the Netherworld) as the earth is from heaven’’ Homer (2008:137). This word is used here in reference to the massive mining activity in the distributional area of A. tartarus and also to the putative secretive habits of this species. 
  • Nogueira, Cristiano C.; Antonio J.S. Argôlo, Vanesa Arzamendia, Josué A. Azevedo, Fausto E. Barbo, Renato S. Bérnils, Bruna E. Bolochio, Marcio Borges-Martins, Marcela Brasil-Godinho, Henrique Braz, Marcus A. Buononato, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, 2019. Atlas of Brazilian snakes: verified point-locality maps to mitigate the Wallacean shortfall in a megadiverse snake fauna. South American J. Herp. 14 (Special Issue 1):1-274 - get paper here
  • Oliveira, Elciomar Araújo De & Emil José Hernández Ruz 2016. Morphological variation in Atractus tartarus of (Snake: Dipsadidae) from the Xingu River, east Amazon, Brazil and preliminary phylogenetic relationship in Atractus. International Journal of Research Studies in Biosciences 4 (8): 1-7 - get paper here
  • Passos, Paulo; Ana L.C. Prudente and John D. Lynch 2016. Redescription of Atractus punctiventris and Description of Two New Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from Brazilian Amazonia. Herp. Monographs 30 (1): 1-20 - get paper here
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