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Crotalus ehecatl CARBAJAL-MÁRQUEZ, CEDEÑO-VÁZQUEZ, MARTÍNEZ-ARCE, NERI-CASTRO & MACHKOUR-M’RABET, 2020

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Tehuantepec Isthmus Neotropical rattlesnake 
SynonymCrotalus ehecatl CARBAJAL-MÁRQUEZ, CEDEÑO-VÁZQUEZ, MARTÍNEZ-ARCE, NERI-CASTRO & MACHKOUR-M’RABET 2020
Crotalus culminatus — HEIMES 2016: 439 (in part)
Crotalus simus — SAVAGE et al. 2005: 370
Crotalus simus — WÜSTER et al. 2005: 1097 (Fig.1), 1103
Crotalus simus — HEIMES 2016: 470 (in part), 492 (Fig. 619), 518 (Map 186).
Crotalus simus simus — CAMPBELL & LAMAR 2004: 584 (Fig. 212), Plate 956
Crotalus durissus durissus — KLAUBER 1941: 61, 64, 65, 67, 71
Crotalus durissus durissus — SMITH & TAYLOR 1950: 348
Crotalus durissus durissus — ARMSTRONG & MURPHY 1979: 10
Crotalus durissus durissus — MCCRANIE 1993: 577.2 (Map 1), 577.5 
DistributionMexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca)

Type locality: San José Tintonishac (16.29366°, 91.961840°; 1504 m asl), Las Margaritas, state of Chiapas, Mexico  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: ECO-CH-H-3778, Adult male, collected on 22 October of 2016 by Jorge Arturo Hidalgo García.
Paratypes. Six specimens, all from Mexico. Chiapas: Juvenile female (ECO-CH-H-3777) collected 08 October of 2016 by J.A. Hidalgo García, in San José Tintonishac (16.2941°, -91.95931°; 1497 m asl), municipality of Las Margaritas; juvenile female (ECO-CH-H-3776) collected on 24 September of 2015 by T. Ramírez Valverde and R.A. Carbajal Márquez, at 12.2 km west of Chiapa de Corzo (16.706618°, -92.896292°; 1071 m asl), municipal- ity of Chiapa de Corzo. Oaxaca: adult female (SDSNH-24383) and adult male (MCZ-R-27819) collected on 1929 by W. W. Brown Jr., at San Pedro Tepanatepec (16.368660°, - 94.193445°; 63 m asl), municipality of San Pedro Tepanatepec; collected on July 1927 by W.W. Brown Jr., at San Pedro Tepanatepec (16.368660°, - 94.193445°; 63 m asl), municipality of San Pedro Tepanatepec. Adult female (MCZ-R-27821) collected July 1927 by Wilmot W. Brown Jr., at San Pedro Tepanatepec (16.368660°, - 94.193445°; 63 m asl), municipality of San Pedro Tep- anatepec. Adult male (MCZ-R-46485) collected on January 1942 by W. Barker near Santo Domingo Tehuantepec (16.324765°, -95.238529°; 52 m asl), municipality of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A rattlesnake belonging to the Crotalus durissus species complex, characterized as other species by a prominent vertebral process and conspicuous scale tuberculations. The distribution range of C. ehecatl closely approaches to those of C. culminatus and C. simus, and to a lesser extent to C. mictlantecuhtli. Crotalus ehecatl can be distinguished from all members of the Crotalus durissus species complex by exclusive combination of the following characters: paravertebral stripes of two scale rows, usually paravertebral stripes with light center on the nape, length of paravertebral stripes of 22 scales, 31 dorsal body blotches, intercanthal scales in 18.7% (n=16) of specimens, interpreocular scale in 50% (n=16) of specimens, first infralabial scale divided in 18.7% (n=16), postrostral scale in 12.5% (n=16), usually 1 postsupraloreal scale, contact between lacunal and supralabial scales in 56.2% (n =16) of specimens, postocular stripe of three scales, usually with light center, contact between paravertebral stripes and supraocular scales in 68.7% (n=16) of specimens, and a dark prefrontal bar interrupted in 93.7% (n=16) of specimens.

Comparisons. Crotalus ehecatl is most closely related to species of the northern clade (C. culminatus) of the Crotalus durissus species complex, and is distinguished from these species by having 168–186 (mode=181) ventral scales in males, 177–187 (mode=187) in females; number of subcaudal scales 27–32 (mode=31) in males, 21–26 (mode=24) in females (vs. 25–32 [28] males, 20–25 [22] females in C. culminatus, and 27–32 [28] males, 20–26 [23] females in C. mictlantecuhtli); mid-dorsal scale rows 27–31 (mode=27) (vs. 27–33 [29] in C. culminatus); width of paravertebral stripe of two scales, usually with light center in the nape (vs. three commonly with light center in C. mictlantecuhtli, and usually one in C. culminatus); intercanthal scales present in 18.7% (vs. absent in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 60% in C. culminatus); first infralabial scales divided in 18.7% (vs. no divided in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 56% in C. culminatus); postrostral scale present in 12.5% (vs. absent in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 44% in C. culminatus); prenasal-supralabial scales contact in 93.7% (vs. present in 100% in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 80% in C. culminatus); interpreocular scale present in 50% (vs. absent in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 20% in C. culminatus); usually three anterior intersupraocular scales (vs. usually two in C. mictlantecuhtli); presupraloreal sometimes present (vs. absent in C. mictlantecuhtli); one or two postloreal scales sometimes present (vs. absent in C. mictlantecuhtli); usually one postsupraloreal scale (vs. usually absent in C. mictlantecuhtli, and two in C. culminatus); superciliar scale absent (vs. present in 20.8% in C. culminatus); lacunal-supralabial scales contact in 56.2% (vs. 68% in C. mictlantecuhtli and 16.6% in C. culminatus); post-ocular stripe of three scales in width and usually with a light center (vs. 3.0–3.5 scales width and usually light center in C. mictlantecuhtli, and three scales width and faded coloration in C. culminatus); usually 31 (25–31) dorsal body blotches in males (vs. usually 24 [23–27] in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 26 [22–30] in C. culminatus); in females 30 (25–30) (vs. usually 23 [22–26] in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 27 [26–31] in C. culminatus); contact between paravertebral stripes and supraoculars in 68.7% (vs. 97% in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 24% in C. culminatus); and the prefrontal bar interrupted in 93.7% (vs. 100% in C. mictlantecuhtli, and 96% in C. culminatus). Crotalus ehecatl is distinguished from C. simus by higher number of ventral scales 168–186 (181) vs. 170–177 (170), less number of scales length of paravertebral stripe 9–33 (22) vs. 20–39 (27), intercanthal scales present in 18.7% (vs. presence of 10%), first infralabial scale divided in 18.7% (vs. not divided), postrostral scale present in 12.5% (vs. absent), contact between prenasal and first supralabial scale of 93.7% (vs. contact of 100%), interpreocular scale present in 50% (vs. absent), usually three (2–5) anterior intersupraoculars (vs. usally two [2–4]), superciliar scale absent (vs. rarely present), contac between lacunal and supralabial sales of 56.2% (vs. not contact), postocular stripe of three scales with light center (vs. three scales and faded), tertiary blotches not conspicuous (vs. conspicuous), paravertebral stripes often with light center only in the nape (vs. without light center), contact of paravertebral stripes with supraoculars of 68.7% (vs. contact of 80%), prefrontal bar interrupted in 93.7% (vs. interrupted in 90%).
 
CommentHabitat: open dry areas with rocky outcrops in tropical deciduous forest and seasonal rain forest 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “ehecatl”, derives from the Nahuatl word “Ehēcatl” and means “The wind” or “Lord of the wind”. In Mexican mythology (Aztec), Ehécatl is the god of the wind. It is usually interpreted as one of the manifestations of Quetzalcóatl, the feathered serpent, taking the name of Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl, appearing in the breath of living beings and in the breezes that bring the clouds with rain for the sowings. His breath starts the movement of the Sun, and brings life to what is inert. Also, he clears the way for Tláloc. The species name is used as an invariable noun in apposition to the generic name. 
References
  • Armstrong, B.L., & Murphy, J.B. 1979. The natural history of Mexican rattlesnakes. Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist. (5): 88 pp.
  • Campbell, Jonathan A. and William W. Lamar 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere, 2 vols. Comstock (Cornell University Press), Ithaca, NY, 962 pp. [review in Science 305: 182]
  • CARBAJAL-MÁRQUEZ, RUBÉN ALONSO; JOSÉ ROGELIO CEDEÑO-VÁZQUEZ, ARELY MARTÍNEZ-ARCE, EDGAR NERI-CASTRO, SALIMA C. MACHKOUR- M’RABET 2020. Accessing cryptic diversity in Neotropical rattlesnakes (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalus) with the description of two new species. Zootaxa 4729 (4): 451–481 - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Klauber, Laurence M. 1941. A new species of rattlesnake from Venezuela. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 9 (30): 333-336 - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 1993. Crotalus durissus Linnaeus, Neotropical rattlesnake. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 577: 1-11 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M., Campbell, J.A. & Lamar, W.W. 2005. On names for neotropical rattlesnakes. Herpetological Review 36: 369– 371
  • Smith, Hobart M. & Taylor, Edward H. 1950. Type localities of Mexican reptiles and amphibians. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 33 (8): 313-380 - get paper here
  • WÜSTER, WOLFGANG; JULIA E. FERGUSON; J. ADRIAN QUIJADA-MASCAREÑAS; CATHARINE E. POOK; MARIA DA GRAÇA SALOMÃO and ROGER S. THORPE 2005. Tracing an invasion: landbridges, refugia, and the phylogeography of the Neotropical rattlesnake (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalus durissus). Molecular Ecology 14: 1095–1108
 
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