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Crotalus mictlantecuhtli 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: Veracruz Neotropical rattlesnake 
SynonymCrotalus mictlantecuhtli CARBAJAL-MÁRQUEZ, CEDEÑO-VÁZQUEZ, MARTÍNEZ-ARCE, NERI-CASTRO & MACHKOUR-M’RABET 2020 
DistributionMexico (Veracruz)

Type locality: Veracruz city (19.18833°, -96.14000°; 13 m elevation), state of Veracruz, Mexico.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. SDNHM-22416, Adult male, collected on 27 May of 1934 by W. A. King.
Paratype. Adult male (SDNHM-24026) collected 14 July of 1935 by W. A. King in Tierra Blanca (18.44981°, -96.35995°; 68 m asl), municipality of Tierra Blanca, state of Veracruz, Mexico. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A rattlesnake belonging to the Crotalus durissus species complex, characterized as other species by a prominent vertebral process and conspicuous scale tuberculations. Crotalus mictlantecuhtli is not sympatric with any congeners, but its range closely approaches those of C. simus-Isthmus-Chiapas and C. tzabcan. Crotalus mictlantecuhtli can be distinguished from all members of the Crotalus durissus species complex by exclusive combination of the following characters: paravertebral stripes with three scale rows, commonly paravertebral stripes with light center, presupraloreal scale absent, postloreal scale absent, usually postsupraloreal scale absent, contact between lacunal and supralabial scales in 68% (n=34) of specimens, postocular stripes of 3.0–3.5 scales width, with light center, contact between paravertebral stripes and supraocular scales in 97% (n=34) of specimens, and dark prefrontal bar interrupted.

Comparisons. Crotalus mictlantecuhtli is closely related to species of the northern clade (C. culminatus) of the Crotalus durissus species complex, and differ from them by having 168–176 (mode=170) ventral scales in males, 169–178 (mode=174) females (vs. 170–182 [175] males, 178–185 [178] females in C. culminatus); mid-dorsal scale rows 27–29 (mode=27) (vs. 27–33 [29] in C. culminatus); width of paravertebral stripe of three scales, commonly with light center (vs. usually one in C. culminatus); intercanthal scales absent (vs. 60% present in C. culminatus); first infralabial scales not divided (vs. 56% divided in C. culminatus); postrostral scale absent (vs. 44% present in C. culminatus); prenasal-supralabial scales contact in 100% (vs. 80% present in C. culminatus); interpreocular scale absent (vs. 20% present in C. culminatus); usually two anterior intersupraocular scales (vs. usually three in C. culminatus); presupraloreal absent (vs. often absent in C. culminatus); postloreal absent (vs. often absent in C. culminatus); postsupraloreal scale usually absent (vs. usually two in C. culminatus); superciliar scale absent (vs. 20.8% present in C. culminatus); lacunal-supralabial scales contact in 68% (vs. 16.6% in C. culminatus); postocular stripe 3.0–3.5 scales width and light center (vs. three scales and faded coloration in C. culminatus); dorsal body blotches in males usually 24 (23–27) (vs. usually 26 [22–30] in C. culminatus); 23 (22–26) in females (vs. usually 27 [26–31] in C. culminatus); contact between paravertebral stripes and supraoculars in 97% (vs. 24% in C. culminatus); prefrontal bar interrupted in 100% (vs. 96% in C. culminatus). Crotalus mictlantecuhtli is distinguished from C. simus by the absence of intercanthal scales (vs. presence of 10%), absence of presupraloreal scale (vs. rarely present), absence of postloreal scale (vs. rarely present), postsupraloreal scale rarely present (vs. usally present), superciliar scale absent (vs. rarely present), contac between lacunal and supralabial scales of 68% (vs. not contact), postocular stripe of 3.0–3.5 scales with light center (vs. three scales and faded), tertiary blotches not conspicuous (vs. conspicuous), paravertebral stripes often with light center (vs. usually without light center), contact of paravertebral stripes with supraoculars of 97% (vs. contact of 80%), prefrontal bar interrupted in 100% (vs. interrupted in 90%).

Color in life. Color in life varies with adult specimens presenting low contrast between blotches and interspaces, although some are more contrasting (Fig. 6 in CM et al. 2020). 
CommentHabitat: open dry areas with rocky outcrops in tropi- cal deciduous forest and seasonal rain forest. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “mictlantecuhtli”, derives from the Nahuatl word “Mictlantecuhtli” and means “Lord of Mictlán” or “Lord of the place of the dead”. In Mexican mythology (Aztec), Zapotec and Mixtec, Mictlantecuhtli is the god of the underworld and the dead. The species name is used as an invariable noun in apposition to the generic name. 
References
  • 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
 
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