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Calamaria dominici ZIEGLER, TRAN & NGUYEN, 2019

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Calamariinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Dominic’s reed snake
Vietnamese: Ran mai gam do-mi-nic
F: Calamaire de Dominic
G: Dominics Zwergschlange 
SynonymCalamaria dominici ZIEGLER, TRAN & NGUYEN in ZIEGLER et al. 2019 
DistributionVietnam (Dak Nong Province, Central Highlands)

Type locality: forest path by Anh Vu Tran in evergreen mixed forest of broadleaf and conifer trees within Ta Dung Nature Reserve, Dak Nong Province, Central Highlands, Vietnam, at an elevation of 1240 m asl.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: IEBR A.2018.1, an adult female collected on 28 May 2017 at 11:30 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of the genus Calamaria characterized by the combination of the following characters:
(1) rostral wider than high;
(2) paraparietal surrounded by six shields and scales; (3) eye diameter larger than eye-mouth distance;
(4) preocular present;
(5) supralabials 5/4, 3-4/2-3 entering orbit;
(6) maxillary teeth nine, modified;
(7) infralabials 5/4, first three touching anterior chin shields;
(8) mental touching tip of right anterior chin shield; (9) ventrals 1 + 174; subcaudal scales 18/17, divided; (10) precloacal plate single;
(11) tail relatively short (6.2% of the total length), nearly as thick as body, slightly tapering, and ending in obtuse point;
(12) dorsal scales reducing to six rows at position above 4th subcaudal, and to four rows above 13th subcaudal on tail;
(13) dorsum dark with irregular yellow blotches; and (14) ventral side dark with few yellow blotches and bands.

Comparisons: Comparisons of the new species with its congeners took place based on the following references (Inger & Marx, 1965; Grismer et al., 2004, Howard & Gillespie, 2007, Ziegler et al., 2008; Koch et al., 2009; Nguyen et al., 2009; Orlov, 2009; Orlov et al., 2010). In the following we first compare Calamaria dominici sp. nov. with the Calamaria species reported to occur in Vietnam:
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. already differs by its color pattern from the species known from Vietnam: C. abramovi has a black dorsum without spots, the venter is covered with yellow-orange spots; C. buchi is blackish above with each dorsal scale having small light spots and its ventral scales having dark outermost corners; C. concolor has a uniform, patternless light brown body dorsum and a cream venter; C. gialaiensis has a light greyish brown dorsum with an indistinct dark neck collar and few dark blotches along posterior vertebral region, two pairs of light blotches on the tail, as well as a yellowish beige ventral side, with dark outermost corners of ventrals and anterior subcaudals; C. pavimentata usually has narrow, dark, longitudinal stripes, and a solid black collar behind the neck; C. sangi has a greyish brown dorsum with fine dark mottling, as well as a yellowish beige ventral side, with dark transverse bands and a dark longitudinal stripe below the tail; C. septentrionalis has dorsal scales with many small light dots forming a network; C. lovii ingermarxorum has an immaculate grey-bluish dorsum with light spots on each side of the neck covering four scales; and C. thanhi has distinct transverse light body bands.
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. further differs from the species so far known from Vietnam in morphological characters:
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. abramovi Orlov, 2009 by its rostral being wider than high (versus its height equal to width), by the dorsal scales reducing to four rows above 13th subcaudal on tail (versus above 20th subcaudal in the female holotype of C. abramovi), by 18/17 versus 20 subcaudals in females, and by having 13-13-13 versus 12-13-13 dorsal scale rows.
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. buchi Marx & Inger, 1955 by having fewer ventral scales in females (1 + 174 versus 221-236 in C. buchi), by the rostral being wider than high (versus rostral higher than wide), by the dorsal scales reducing to four rows above 13th subcaudal on tail (versus above 3rd-4th subcaudal), by 18/17 versus 13-14 subcaudals in females, by having a ratio of tail length to total length of 6.2% (versus 3.9-4.1 in female C. buchi), and by the length of parietal being shorter than distance from posterior tip of frontal to posterior tip of rostral (versus length of parietal greater than distance from posterior tip of frontal to posterior tip of rostral). Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. concolor Orlov, Nguyen, Nguyen, Ananjeva & Ho, 2010 by having paraparietal surrounded by six shields and scales (versus by five shields and scales), and by the dorsal scales reducing to four rows above 13th subcaudal on tail (versus above 19th subcaudal in the male holotype of C. concolor).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. gialaiensis Ziegler, Nguyen & Nguyen, 2009 by having paraparietal surrounded by six shields and scales (versus by five shields and scales), and by tail ending in obtuse point (versus with rounded end).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. lovii Boulenger, 1887 by having a preocular scale (versus being absent in C. lovii), and by tail ending in obtuse point (versus with blunt end in the subspecies occurring in Vietnam, C. lovii ingermarxorum).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. pavimentata Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 by the rostral being wider than high (versus rostral as broad as high or slightly higher than broad), and by the tail ending in obtuse point (tail tip with sharp point in C. pavimentata).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. sangi Nguyen, Koch & Ziegler, 2009 by having fewer ventral scales (1 + 174 versus 2 + 190 in C. sangi), and by the dorsal scales reducing to six rows above 4th subcaudal on tail (versus above 8th subcaudal).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. septentrionalis Boulenger 1890 by 18/17 versus 6-11 subcaudals in females, by having a ratio of tail length to total length of 6.2% (versus 2.6-4.3 in female C. septentrionalis), and by the tail ending in obtuse point (versus tail tip rounded in C. septentrionalis).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. thanhi Ziegler & Le, 2005 by having a preocular scale (versus absent), by having fewer ventral scales (1 + 174 versus 198 in C. thanhi), and by the tail ending in obtuse point (tail tip with sharp point in C. thanhi).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. yunnanensis Chernov, 1962, a species reported from southern China, which was judged as a doubtful form by Inger & Marx (1965), but subsequently listed as valid by Yang & Inger (1986) and Zhao & Adler (1993), by having a preocular (versus being absent), and by lacking narrow, dark, elongated stripes along the body.
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. has a distinct preocular scale, which is lacking in the following species: C. alidae Boulenger, 1920, C. apraeocularis Smith, 1927, C. banggaiensis Koch, Arida, McGuire, Iskandar & Böhme, 2009, C. butonensis Howard & Gillespie, 2007, C. ceramensis De Rooij, 1913, C. gracillima (Günther, 1872), C. javanica Boulenger, 1891, C. longirostris Howard & Gillespie, 2007, C. mecheli Schenkel, 1901, C. rebentischi Bleeker, 1860, and C. schmidti Marx & Inger, 1955.
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. has modified maxillary teeth and thus differs from the following species, which have unmodified maxillary teeth: C. acutirostris Boulenger, 1896, C. curta Boulenger, 1896, C. lautensis De Rooij, 1917, C. leucogaster Bleeker, 1860, and C. ulmeri Sackett, 1940.
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. has paraparietal surrounded by six shields and scales and thus differs from C. albiventer (Gray, 1835) (5), C. bicolor Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (5), C. bitorques Peters, 1872 (5), C. brongersmai Inger & Marx, 1965 (5), C. everetti Boulenger, 1893 (5), C. griswoldi Loveridge, 1938 (5), C. hilleniusi Inger & Marx, 1965 (5), C. joloensis Taylor, 1922 (5), C. lateralis Mocquard, 1890 (5), C. lumbricoidea Boie, 1827 (4 or 5), C. lumholtzi Andersson, 1923 (5), C. muelleri Boulenger, 1896 (5), C. palavanensis Inger & Marx, 1965 (5), C. prakkei Lidth de Jeude, 1893 (5), and C. suluensis Taylor, 1922 (5).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from the following species by a distinctly higher ventral scale count in the female sex: C. abstrusa Inger & Marx, 1965 (145-152), C. crassa Lidth de Jeude, 1922 (158-164), C. eiselti Inger & Marx, 1965 (151-153), C. linnaei Boie, 1827 (148166), and C. melanota Jan, 1862 (131-154).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from the following species by a distinctly higher subcaudal scale count in the female sex: C. margaritophora Bleeker, 1860 (811), C. nuchalis Boulenger, 1896 (9), and C. sumatrana Edeling, 1870 (10-14).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from C. grabowskyi Fischer, 1885 by a distinctly lower subcaudal scale count in the female sex (20-28).
Calamaria dominici sp. nov. has the first three infralabials touching the anterior chin shields versus only two pairs of infralabials touching anterior chin shields in C. borneensis Bleeker, 1860.
In addition, Calamaria dominici sp. nov. differs from the remaining species at least by a distinct colour pattern: C. battersbyi Inger & Marx, 1965 (with narrow longitudinal stripes mid-dorsally), C. oesemani Inger & Marx, 1965 (with a continuous light stripe the entire length of the body), C. doederleini Gough, 1902 (with narrow dark brown crossbands on body and tail), C. forcarti Inger & Marx, 1965 (with narrow dark crossbands behind head, body without stripes, venter yellow), C. gervaisii Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (usually with a dark-edged, interrupted, light stripe on first body scale row), C. ingeri Grismer, Kaiser & Yaakob, 2004 (with incomplete light transverse bands on body and tail), C. modesta Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (with ventrals having dark pigment at least laterally), C. schlegeli Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 (dark above, light below, head yellow above and below or black above and yellow below, or intermediate conditions), C. virgulata Boie, 1827 (dorsally dark brown, each scale with a light network, with or without longitudinal dark stripes). 
CommentHabitat: evergreen mixed forest of broadleaf and conifer trees. The snake was discovered on a forest path near a small creek, for about 50 m distance from a large creek. It was found, surface active, in a densely vegetated boggy area at 11:30. The surrounding habitat was primary forest consisting of dense understory punctuated with large boulders scattered over a ca. 20° slope that descended to a large creek.

Abundance: only known from the holotype. 
EtymologyNamed dominici to honor Dominic T. Charles Scriven, founder of Wildlife at Risk (WAR), for his contribution towards wildlife conservation in Vietnam. 
References
  • Kwet, A. 2020. Liste der im Jahr 2019 neubeschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2020 (3): 44-67
  • Poyarkov, Nikolay A.; Jr., Tan Van Nguyen, Nikolai L. Orlov, Gernot Vogel 2019. A New Species of the Genus Calamaria Boie, 1827 from the Highlands of the Langbian Plateau, Southern Vietnam (Squamata: Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 26 (6): 335-348 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, Thomas; & Truong Quang Nguyen 2019. HERPETOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION IN VIETNAM AND LAOS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ONE PLAN APPROACH. Proc. 4th Nat Sci Conf Amph Rept Vietnam 17-26
  • Ziegler, Thomas; Vu A. Tran, Randall D. Babb, Thomas R. Jones, Paul E. Moler, Robert W. Van Devender, Truong Q. Nguyen 2019. A new species of reed snake, Calamaria Boie, 1827 from the Central Highlands of Vietnam (Squamata: Colubridae). Revue suisse de Zoologie 126 (1): 17-26 - get paper here
 
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