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Dipsadoboa montisilva BRANCH, CONRADIE & TOLLEY, 2019

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Montane Forest Tree Snake 
SynonymDipsadoboa montisilva BRANCH, CONRADIE & TOLLEY in BRANCH et al. 2019
Dipsadoboa sp. — TIMBERLAKE et al. 2012
Dipsadoboa sp. — BAYLISS et al. 2014
Dipsadoboa cf. shrevei — CONRADIE et al. 2016 
DistributionMozambique (Zambezia)

Type locality: Mt Mabu Forest Base Camp (16°17’10.4”S, 36°24’00.2”E, 919 m above sea level ~a.s.l.), Zambezia Province, Mozambique.  
TypesHolotype: PEM R21122, adult male with everted hemipenes, preserved in formalin and transferred to 70% ethanol. Body coiled and with a small incision ventrally. Collected 21 November 2014 by K.A. Tolley, S.P. Loader, W. Conradie, G.B. Bittencourt-Silva, M. Menegon, H.M. Engelbrecht, and C. Nanvonamuquitxo.
Paratypes: Five specimens: PEM R21115, male, Mt Mabu Forest Summit Camp (16°17’48.5”S, 36°23’32.7”E, 1644 m a.s.l.), Zambezia Province, Mozambique, collected 20 November 2014 by KAT, SPL, WC, GBBS, MM, HME, CN; PEM R21123, male, Mt Mabu Forest Base Camp (16°17’10.4”S, 36°24’00.2”E, 919 m a.s.l.), Zambe- zia Province, Mozambique, collected 20 November 2014, by KAT, SPL, WC, GBBS, MM, HME, CN; NHMUK 2018.02398 (previously PEM R21116), male, Mt Mabu Forest Summit Camp (16°17’48.5”S, 36°23’32.7”E, 1644 m a.s.l), Zambezia Province, Mozambique, collected 20 November 2014 by KAT, SPL, WC, GBBS, MM, HME, CN; MHNM.Rep.2014.0011, male, Mt Mabu Forest Base Camp (16°17’10.4”S, 36°24’00.2”E, 919 m a.s.l.), Zambezia Province, Mozambique, collected 20 November 2014 by KAT, SPL, WC, GBBS, MM, HME, CN; PEM R21937, female, Mt Mabu Forest Base Camp (16°17’10”S, 36°24’04”E, ~950 m a.s.l.), Zambezia Province, Mozambique, collected on 15 October 2012 by JB. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Dipsadoboa montisilva sp. nov. is distinguished from all other members of the genus by having divided subcaudals (single in the D. unicolor group), an entire anal (divided in the D. aulica group), and 19 MSR (17 MSR in D. duchesnii group). It differs from other members of the D. werneri group in having low ventral and subcaudal counts (higher in D. werneri, see Table 4), and usually only two supralabials (4–5) entering the eye (three supralabials (3–5) in others)), 1+1 or 1+2 temporals (1+1 in D. s. shrevei and D. s. kageleri), and an entire anal and 19 MSR (divided anal and 17 MSR in D. s. kageleri). 
CommentHabitat. All Mt Mabu specimens collected were either active on the forest floor or in low branches (Fig. 5B), while the Mt Ribáuè specimen was collected from low branches (ca. 1.5 m high) of a small tree in the understory. Dipsadoboa montisilva sp. nov. inhabits evergreen montane forest in contrast to the related D. shrevei, which in- habits miombo woodland and gallery forest (Broadley et al. 2003). All specimens were collected between 919–1644 m a.s.l. on Mt Mabu and at 1416 m a.s.l. at Mt Ribáuè (M’pàluwé Forest). It is possible that the species occurs higher in the canopy but was not visible, so the collections in the lower branches should not be considered as the limits of this species habitat. The habitat on Mt Mabu comprises closed-canopy forest, except for small gaps caused by tree-falls and along stream gullies. Tall trees (up to 40–50 m height) emerge from the canopy, with Strombosia scheffleri dominant and others including Newtonia sp., Chrysophyllum gorungosanum, Maranthes goetzeniana, Ficus thonningii, Blighia unijugata and Funtumia africana. Smaller trees in the understorey include Allophylus sp., Canthium sp., Oxyanthus speciosus, Rawsonia lucida, Tabernaemontana ventricosa, Vepris stolzii and small saplings of Cola greenwayi, Drypetes sp. and Maranthes sp. Canopy lianas are dominated by Millettia lasiantha (Dowsett-Lemaire & Dowsett, unpubl. report 2008; Timberlake et al. 2012).

Behavior: nocturnal and arboreal 
EtymologyThe name is derived from the Latin words ‘montem’ = mountain and ‘silva’= forest, which is in reference to the isolated mountain forest habitat in which it is found on Mt Mabu, Zambezia Province, Mozambique. The name is in the masculine form. 
  • Bayliss, J., Timberlake, J., Branch, W.R., Bruessow, C., Collins, S., Congdon, C., Curran, M., De Sousa, C., Dowsett, R., Dow- sett-Lemaire, F., Fishpool, L., Harris, T., Herrmann, E., Georgiadis, S., Kopp, M., Liggitt, B., Monadjem, A., Patel, H., R 2014. The discovery, biodiversity and conservation of Mabu forest–the largest medium-altitude rainforest in southern Africa. Oryx, 48: 177–185 - get paper here
  • BRANCH, WILLIAM R.; JULIAN BAYLISS, GABRIELA B. BITTENCOURT-SILVA, WERNER CONRADIE, HANLIE M. ENGELBRECHT, SIMON P. LOADER, MICHELE MENEGON, CRISTÓVÃO NANVONAMUQUITXO, KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY 2019. A new species of tree snake (Dipsadoboa, Serpentes: Colubridae) from ‘sky island’ forests in northern Mozambique, with notes on other members of the Dipsadoboa werneri group. Zootaxa 4646 (3): 541–563 - get paper here
  • Conradie, Werner; Gabriela B. Bittencourt-Silva, Hanlie M. Engelbrecht, Simon P. Loader, Michele Menegon, Cristóvão Nanvonamuquitxo, Michael Scott, Krystal A. Tolley 2016. Exploration into the hidden world of Mozambique’s sky island forests: new discoveries of reptiles and amphibians. Zoosyst. Evol. 92 (2): 163–180, DOI 10.3897/zse.92.9948 - get paper here
  • Timberlake, J.R., Bayliss, J., Dowsett-Lemaire, F., Conghan, C., Branch, W.R., Collins, S., Curran, M., Dowsett, R.J., Fishpool, L., Francisco, J., Harris, T., Kopp M. & De Sousa, C. 2012. Mt Mabu, Mozambique: Biodiversity and Conservation. Re- port produced under the Darwin Initiative Award 15/036. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, 94 pp
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