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Dendrelaphis wickrorum DANUSHKA, KANISHKA, WICKRAMASINGHE, VOGEL & SENEVIRATNE, 2020

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Ahaetuliinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Wickramasinghes Bronze-back 
SynonymDendrelaphis wickrorum DANUSHKA, KANISHKA, WICKRAMASINGHE, VOGEL & SENEVIRATNE 2020: 90 
DistributionSri Lanka

Type locality: Punduloya, 4,000 ft, Ceylon (= Pundaluoya, Sri Lanka, 7 ̊00'47'' N, 80 ̊39'47'' E; alt. 1,060 m a.s.l.), Nuwara Eliya District, Central Province, Sri Lanka.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. BMNH 1905.3.25.98, adult male, SVL 368.0 mm, collected. Collector and the date unknown.
Paratypes (n=4). Adult female, DWC 2020.05.03, SVL 708.0 mm, collected from Pinwatta-Panadura (6 ̊41'23'' N, 79 ̊55'24'' E; alt. 15 m a.s.l.), Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri Lanka; Adult male, DWC 2020.05.04, SVL 489.0 mm, collected from Kuda-Waskaduwa (6 ̊37'11'' N, 79 ̊56'51'' E; alt. 15 m a.s.l.), Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri Lanka, by L.J.M. Wickramasinghe on 20 October 2006; Subadult male, USNM 267765, SVL 285.0 mm, collected from Labugama (6 ̊50'49'' N, 80 ̊11'35'' E; alt. 140 m a.s.l.), Colombo District, Western Province, Sri Lanka, by A. de Silva, on December 1976; Juvenile male, BMNH 1946.1.10.20, SVL 174.0 mm, collected from Ceylon, by Mr. Hugh Cuming (paralectotype of D. bifrenalis), collecting data unknown; see Tables 4 for morphometric and meristic characters. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The following combination of characters distinguishes the new species from Dendrelaphis bifrenalis: shorter snout: ED 103– 114% of EN (vs 77–95%), larger eye: ED 21– 23% of HL (vs 17–20%), presence of a temporal stripe stopping just beyond the neck (vs continues behind neck), absence of black transverse dorsolateral bars on the anterior 1/4th of body (vs prominent), presence of a ventro- lateral stripe continuing up to the tail (vs stopping at the level of anal plate) and narrow and pointed snout (vs broad and flat). Furthermore a divided nasal (vs single) distinguishes the new species; the differences are shown in Figs. 8 & 9, and summarized in Tables 6 & 7 in Danushka et al. 2020.

Comparison. Dendrelaphis wickrorum sp. nov. is most similar to D. bifrenalis (in Sri Lanka) and D. girii Vogel & van Rooijen, 2011b (in India), the diagnostic characters are listed in the diagnosis and Table 6. The new species is distinguished from all the Sri Lankan and Indian Dendrelaphis by having two loreal scales (vs absent or single), except for D. bifrenalis (see Table 7). It further differs from D. caudolineolatus by having 9 or 10 supralabials 5th–6th or 6th–7th touching the eye (vs 8 and 4th– 5th touching the eye), costals in 15 rows at mid body (vs 13), 157–162 ventrals (vs 149); from D. sinharajensis by having temporal stripe and ventrolateral stripe (vs absent), 9 or 10 supralabials (vs 8), costals in 15 rows at mid body (vs 13), 157–162 ventrals (vs 174); from D. oliveri by having 5th–6th or 6th–7th supralabials touching the eye (vs 4th–6th), 157–162 ventrals (vs 173), 150–157 subcaudals (vs 134), temporal stripe stops beyond the neck (vs until tail base); from D. schokari by having 150–157 subcaudals (vs 105–127); and from D. tristis by having 157–162 ventrals (vs 178–198), no interparietal bright spot (vs present). 
CommentDistribution: See map in Danushka et al. 2020: 96 (Fig. 10). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case, honoring Mr. L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe and his wife Mrs. Nethu Wickramasinghe for their remarkable contributions to the field of herpetology in Sri Lanka. Especially, Mendis Wickramasinghe‘s enormous effort in popularizing snake conservation among the general public is highly commendable. We shorten their modern name to the stem “Wickr” and formed in case of plural adding the suffix [-orum]. 
References
  • Danushka, A.D. et al. 2020. A new species of Dendrelaphis Boulenger, 1890 (Reptilia: Colubridae) from the wet zone of Sri Lanka with a redescription of Dendrelaphis bifrenalis (Boulenger, 1890). TAPROBANICA 9 (1): 83-102 - get paper here
 
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