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Dryophylax phoenix (FRANCO, TREVINE, MONTINGELLI & ZAHER, 2017)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesPortuguese: Cobra-Espada, Corre-Campo 
SynonymThamnodynastes phoenix FRANCO, TREVINE, MONTINGELLI & ZAHER 2017
Thamnodynastes sp. 2 – FRANCO & FERREIRA, 2003
Thamnodynastes sp. 2 – HAMDAN & LIRA DA SILVA 2012
Thamnodynastes sp. 2 – COELHO et al. 2013
Thamnodynastes sp. – GUEDES et al. 2014
Thamnodynastes phoenix — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019
Thamnodynastes phoenix — TREVINE et al. 2021
Dryophylax phoenix — TREVINE et al. 2022 
DistributionBrazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Tocantins)

Type locality: Brazil, Pernambuco, municipality of Petrolina, 09°19’29.00” S, 40°32’50.00” W, 389 m above sea level, Campus Ciências Agrárias, Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco (UNIVASF  
TypesHolotype: IBSP 87527, adult male collected by Leonardo de Barros Ribeiro on 4 November 2011 (Figs 1 and 2). Paratypes (N = 12): Brazil: Alagoas: UHE Xingó (9°37’25” S, 37°47’54”W): MZUSP 10875 (former CHESF 3455), adult female, no collector information; and MZUSP 10878 (former CHESF 3723), adult male, no collector informa- tion; Bahia: municipality of Guanambi (14°12’ S, 42°46’ W): IBSP 54904, adult male, collected by Guanambi city hall, 17 August 1992; municipality of Queimadas (10°58’40’’ S, 39°37’26’’ W): MZUSP 10775, adult female, collected by Miguel T. Rodrigues, October 1991; Ceará: Serra do Ba- turité (4°23’48.8’’ S, 39°01’28.3’’ W): MZUSP 21180, young female, collected by Natália Rizzo Friol et al., 27 Octo- ber 2012; Pernambuco: municipality of Floresta (7°23’20’’ S, 38°46’26’’ W): MFCH 1897 (former LPE 1275), adult fe- male, no collector information, 23 May 2009; municipal- ity of Salgueiro (8°04’00’’ S, 39°06’00’’ W): MFCH 1887 (former NCA 822), young male, no collector information, 19 May 2009; UHE Itaparica (9°08’37” S 38°18’43” W): IBSP 52127, adult female, collected by CHESF Company, 20 August 1988; Piauí: Estação Ecológica Uruçuí-Una (8°38’ S, 44°56’ W): MZUSP 18146, adult female, and MZUSP 18147, adult male, collected by Hussam Zaher et al., 17– 30 January 2001; municipality of Piracuruca, Parque Na- cional das Sete Cidades (4°5’59” S, 41°42’50” W): MPEG 23344, adult male, no collector information, 7 September 2005; Tocantins: municipality of Palmeiras do Tocantins (6°36’49’’ S, 47°32’46’’ W): MZUSP 19105 (former EST 14460), adult male, collected on UHE Estreito by Systemae Naturae Consultoria Ambiental, 3 November 2011; mu- nicipality of Mateiros, Pares do Jalapão, Posto das Dunas (10°22’40’’ S, 46°40’30’’ W): MNRJ 15196, adult female, col- lected by A. Chagas, 14 June 2007. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Thamnodynastes phoenix sp. n. differs from all other species of the genus by the following combination of characters: 19/19/15 dorsal rows with smooth scales; maximum SVL 495 mm; maximum TL 136 mm; ventral scales 133 to 159; subcaudals 40 to 66; coloration of the ventral portion of the head extremely spotted with dark-brown dots, infralabials and chin shields with a white centre. Darkening intensifies on the infralabial borders, outlining a clear contrast of lateral and dark margins (Fig. 2). Two pairs of non-continuous longitudinal dark ventral stripes, darker at the transition of the venter and the lateral sides, with a more conspicuous black spot on the apex of each ventral scale; tip of the tail lighter than the overall body coloration without blotches or dots, almost white in juvenile specimens.

Comparisons: Thamno­dynastes phoenix sp. n. differs from T. chimanta, T. duida, T. lanei, T. marahuaquensis, T. pallidus and T. sertanejo by having 19 scale rows at midbody (versus 17 in all others) (Roze 1958, Gorzula & Ayarzagüena 1996, Myers & Donnellly 1996) (Table 2). It further differs from T. almae, T. ceibae, T. chaquensis, T. dixoni, T. hypoconia, T. paraguanae and T. cf. nattereri by the general pattern of coloration and smooth dorsal scales (versus slightly or strongly keeled in all the above) (Franco & Ferreira 2002, Bailey & Thomas 2007); from T. chaquensis (in parenthesis) it also differs by the smaller size, with maximum SVL 495 mm (maximum SVL 577 mm), fewer subcaudals, 45– 66 for males and 40–60 for females (55–73 subcaudals for males, 48–65 for females), and infralabials more intensely pigmented, outlining a white centre on each infralabial (dark pigmentation not as conspicuous and not outlining a white centre on each infralabial). Thamnodynastes phoenix differs from T. corocoroensis by its characteristic colour pattern and by its slightly higher counts of ventral scales, from 133 to 159, and nine infralabials (132 ventrals and eight infralabials in T. corocoroensis, Gorzula & Ayarzagüena 1996); it differs from T. gambotensis and T. ramonriveroi by the smaller counts of subcaudals (61–75 for males, and 55–73 for females of T. gambotensis; and 59–77 for males, and 52–70 for females of T. ramonriveroi) (Table 2), and also by the pattern of ventral coloration, with two to four inconspicuous brown longitudinal ventral stripes that disappear on the first half of the tail (versus two to four well defined and continuous longitudinal ventral stripes in T. gambotensis, and five darker conspicuous longitudinal stripes in T. ramonriveroi, evident throughout the tail). It differs from T. longicaudus by its darker general coloration and 19/19/15 rows of dorsal scales (versus 19/19/13 and five to six dark anterior dorsal blotches; Franco et al. 2003); from T. rutilus by the absence of a red mark on the sixth supralabial (versus present); from T. cf. nattereri by its smaller size (versus maximum SVL 577 mm), fewer ventral scales (159–167 ventrals for males, and 142–160 for females of T. cf. nattereri), and also by its gular region intensely pigmented, forming white blotches on the centre of infralabials and chinshields (slightly pigmented or immaculate); from T. strigatus by its immaculate oral mucosa and by the darker background coloration of the labials, without distinct oval blotches on the supra and infralabials (versus with a black stain enclosing tongue sheath and black oral palate, light background colour of labial scales, with distinct darker blotches present on the margin of every supralabial and infralabial); and from T. yavi for its bigger size and different pattern of coloration (maximum SVL 260 mm, and darker background colour with brown dorsal coloration with black scales scattered along the body, without white blotches, in T. yavi Myers & Donnelly, 1996) (Table 2).
Thamnodynastes phoenix is very much alike to T. para­ guanae from northwestern Venezuela (Paraguaná Peninsula) and northern Colombia, which shares the intensely pigmented gular, mental and infralabial region, also with infralabials with a lighter centre, contrasting with dark borders. However, the new species can be distinguished from T. paraguanae (in parenthesis) by the more robust hemipenis, with evident spines on the hemipenial body that increase slightly in size towards the base (very slender hemipenis with reduced spines on a long hemipenial body); for its slightly smaller size (maximum SVL 550 mm), and lower subcaudal counts (55–72 subcaudals for males and 53–65 for females) (Table 2). 
EtymologyNamed after Greek phoenix (φοῖνιξ phoinix; Latin: phoenix, phoenix, fenix), referring to the mythological bird that dies in combustion and subsequently rises from ashes in a cycle of life and death. This name acknowledges the fact that the previously selected holotype, used originally for the species description, was lost in the fire that consumed 90% of the Herpetological Collection “Alphonse Richard Hoge” of the Instituto Butantan, on March 15, 2010. Some specimens, including two paratypes, were rescued from the fire, and the data previously collected from the lost specimens were kept and used herein. 
  • Bailey, J.R.; R.A. Thomas 2007. A revision of the South American snake genus Thamnodynastes Wagler, 1830 (Serpentes, Colubridae, Tachymenini). II. Three new species from northern South America, with further descriptions of Thamnodynastes gambotensis Pérez-Santos and Moreno and Tha Memoria de la Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales 166: 7-27 [2006]
  • Coelho, Rafael Damasceno Fernandes; Kariny de Souza, Alisson Guedes Weider, Luiz Cezar Machado Pereira and Leonardo Barros Ribeiro. 2013. Overview of the distribution of snakes of the genus Thamnodynastes (Dipsadidae) in northeastern Brazil, with new records and remarks on their morphometry and pholidosis. Herpetology Notes 6: 355- 360
  • Da Silva, É G; De Morais Pinto, C L; Teles, D A; Filho, J A D A; Teixeira, A A M & Almeida, W D O 2018. Thamnodynastes phoenix Diet. Herpetological Review 49 (2): 355-356 - get paper here
  • Franco, F. L., V. C. Trevine, G. G. Montingelli & H. Zaher 2017. A new species of Thamnodynastes from the open areas of central and northeastern Brazil (Serpentes: Dipsadidae: Tachymenini). Salamandra 53 (3): 339-350 - get paper here
  • Franco, F.L. & Ferreira, T. G. 2003. Descrição de uma nova espécie de Thamnodynastes Wagler, 1830 (Serpentes, Colubridae) do nordeste brasileiro, com comentários sobre o gênero. Phyllomedusa 1 (2): 57-74 [2002] - get paper here
  • Freire, E. M. X., Kolodiuk, M. F., Gogliath, M., Kokubum, M. N. D. C., Rêgo, B. D. P., Ribeiro, M. M., ... & Sales, R. F. D. 2023. The herpetofauna of priority highland areas for conservation of the Caatinga in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, northeastern Brazil. Biota Neotropica, 23, e20221395 - get paper here
  • Freitas, Marco Antonio de; Arthur Diesel Abegg, Daniel da Silva Araújo, Hugo Estevam de Almeida Coelho, Weverton dos Santos Azevedo, Márcio Frazão Chaves, Geraldo Jorge Barbosa de Moura 2019. Herpetofauna of five "Brejos de Altitude" of the interior of the state of Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil. Herpetology Notes 12: 591-602 - get paper here
  • Gonzalez R. C. et al. 2020. Lista dos Nomes Populares dos Répteis no Brasil – Primeira Versão. Herpetologia Brasileira 9 (2): 121 – 214 - get paper here
  • Gorzula, S., and J. Ayarzagüena. 1996. Dos nuevas especies del género Thamnodynastes (Serpentes: Colubridae) de los tepuyes de la Guayana venezolana. Publ. Asoc. Amigos de Doñana (1995) 6: 1-17
  • GUEDES, THAÍS B.; CRISTIANO NOGUEIRA & OTAVIO A. V. MARQUES 2014. Diversity, natural history, and geographic distribution of snakes in the Caatinga, Northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa 3863 (1): 001–093 - get paper here
  • Guedes, Thaís B.; Ricardo J. Sawaya, Alexander Zizka, Shawn Laffan, Søren Faurby, R. Alexander Pyron, Renato S. Bérnils, Martin Jansen, Paulo Passos, Ana L. C. Prudente, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, Henrique B. Braz, Cristiano de C. Nogueira, Alexandre 2017. Patterns, biases and prospects in the distribution and diversity of Neotropical snakes. Global Ecol Biogeogr 00:1–8 - get paper here
  • Hamdan, B. & R. M. Lira-da-Silva 2012. The snakes of Bahia State, northeastern Brazil: species richness, composition and biogeographical notes. Salamandra 48 (1): 31-50 - get paper here
  • Morais MSR de, de Araújo PF, Costa RMT, França FGR 2020. First record of cannibalism in Thamnodynastes phoenix Franco, Trevine, Montingelli & Zaher, 2017 (Serpentes, Colubridae). Herpetozoa 33: 17-19 - get paper here
  • Myers, C. W. & M. A. DONNELLY 1996. A New Herpetofauna from Cerro Yaví, Venezuela: First results of the Robert G. Goelet American-Terramar Expedition to the Northwestern Tepuis. American Museum Novitates 3172: 1-56. - get paper here
  • Nogueira, Cristiano C.; Antonio J.S. Argôlo, Vanesa Arzamendia, Josué A. Azevedo, Fausto E. Barbo, Renato S. Bérnils, Bruna E. Bolochio, Marcio Borges-Martins, Marcela Brasil-Godinho, Henrique Braz, Marcus A. Buononato, Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia, 2019. Atlas of Brazilian snakes: verified point-locality maps to mitigate the Wallacean shortfall in a megadiverse snake fauna. South American J. Herp. 14 (Special Issue 1):1-274 - get paper here
  • OLIVEIRA LIMA, JEFFERSON; HUGO ANDRADE, TAINARA LIMA DA SILVA & EDUARDO JOSÉ DOS REIS DIAS. 2022. Reptiles of Sergipe: current knowledge and sampling discontinuities. Herpetology Notes 15: 69–78. - get paper here
  • Pergentino, Helânio Emanuel S.; Leonardo B. Ribeiro 2017. Anurophagy by the snake Thamnodynastes phoenix (Squamata: Dipsadidae: Tachymenini) in dry forested areas of Northeastern Brazil. Herpetology Notes 10: 597-600 - get paper here
  • Roze,J.A. 1958. Los reptiles del Chimantá Tepui (Estado Bolívar, Venezuela) colectados por la expedición botánica del Chicago Natural History Museum. Acta Biol. Venezuelica 2 (25): 299-314
  • Trevine, V. C., Grazziotin, F. G., Giraudo, A., Sallesbery‐Pinchera, N., Vianna, J. A., & Zaher, H. 2022. The systematics of Tachymenini (Serpentes, Dipsadidae): An updated classification based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zoologica Scripta - get paper here
  • TREVINE, VIVIAN C.; JOSÉ RANCÉS CAICEDO-PORTILLA, MARINUS HOOGMOED, ROBERT A. THOMAS, FRANCISCO L. FRANCO, GIOVANNA G. MONTINGELLI, MARIELA OSORNO-MUÑOZ, HUSSAM ZAHER 2021. A new species of Thamnodynastes Wagler, 1830 from western Amazonia, with notes on morphology for members of the Thamnodynastes pallidus group (Serpentes, Dipsadidae, Tachymenini). Zootaxa 4952 (2): 235–256 - get paper here
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