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Lycodon chapaensis (ANGEL & BOURRET, 1933)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Namdong Wolf Snake
G: Namdong Wolfszahnnatter
Vietnamese: Rắn khuyết nam động 
SynonymDinodon septentrionale chapaense ANGEL & BOURRET 1933
Dinodon septentrionale var. chapaense — DEUVE 1961: 16
Dinodon septentrionale — ZHAO & YANG 1997
Dinodon septentrionale — ZHAO et al. 1998
Dinodon septentrionale — HE & ZHOU 2002
Dinodon septentrionale — ZHAO, 2006
Dinodon septentrionale — YANG & RAO 2008
Lycodon septentrionalis — SILER et al. 2013
Lycodon septentrionalis — GUO et al. 2013
Lycodon septentrionalis — CAI et al. 2015 (in part)
Lycodon septentrionalis — JIANG et al. 2016
Lycodon cf. septentrionalis — YANG et al. 2019
Lycodon namdongensis LUU, ZIEGLER, HA, LE & HOANG 2019
Lycodon septentrionalis — WANG et al., 2020b 
DistributionVietnam (Thanh Hoa), China (Yunnan)

Type locality: 20 km SW of Lao-Kay (=Lao Cai), Tonkin, Vietnam

namdongensis: Type locality: karst forest, Nam Dong Nature Reserve, Quan Son District, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam (20°18.298’N; 104°54.776’E, at an elevation of 616 m a.s.l.)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA-1933.0011, adult female. Collected by Bourret R. on 01 July 1931.
Holotype: VNUF R.2017.23 (field number: TT 17.23), adult male, collected on 13 June 2017 by Vinh Quang Luu, Nghia Van Ha, Oanh Van Lo, and Ngoan Van Ha [namdongensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Lycodon namdongensis sp. nov is characterized by the following morphological characters: dorsal scales in 17−17−15 rows, all smooth; supralabials 8; infralabials 10; one large loreal on each side, separated from the eye; cloacal plate single; ventral scales 218 (plus two preventral scales); subcaudals 85; a total length of 723 mm in the single male; tail / total length ratio 0.205; dorsal head pattern whitish grey; dorsal surface of body with 23 narrowed greyish cream bands; dorsal surface of tail with 14 cream bands; ventral surface of body mostly cream with a few dark spots posteriorly; ventral surface of tail dark grey.

Comparisons: Lycodon namdongensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from its closest relative L. futsingensis by having more ventral scales (218 versus 193–208), ventral pattern mostly cream with a few small dark spots posteriorly (versus speckled posteriorly), first body band starting at ventral scale 25 (versus 13–21), and first body band covered by one vertebral scale (versus 5–10) (Vogel et al. 2009; Luu et al. 2013a; Neang et al. 2014), in concert with an uncorrected p-distance of 6.5%; from L. flavozonatus by having cloacal plate single (versus divided), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus 10–12 keeled dorsal scale rows at midbody), a distinctly lower body band count (23 versus 51–78), belly pattern mostly cream with a few small dark spots (versus yellow with large black spots) (Orlov & Ryabov 2004); from L. meridionalis by having whitish grey head pattern (versus with yellow-black marble markings), fewer ventral scales (218 versus 234–246), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus distinctly keeled), dorsal pattern banded (versus blotched), fewer subcaudal scales (86 versus 98–106), ventral surface mostly cream with a few dark spots posteriorly (versus yellow with dark spots posteriorly), and fewer tail bands (14 versus 25–35) (Bourret 1935; Orlov & Ryabov 2004; Gawor et al. 2016); from L. banksi by having a loreal not entering the orbit (versus entering the orbit), fewer ventral scales (218 versus 241), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus feebly keeled), dorsal pattern banded (versus blotched) (Luu et al. 2018); from L. rufozonatus by having a distinctly lower body band count (23 versus 44–52), having fewer dorsal scale rows at neck (17 versus 19), whitish grey dorsal head pattern (versus dark brown with yellow borders), and body bands cream with a few small dark spots laterally (versus yellow or cream, speckled posteriorly) (Boulenger 1893; Deuve 1970); from L. semicarinatus by dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus keeled along anterior half), whitish grey dorsal head pattern (versus black), first and second labials dark grey (versus yellow with black sutures), and belly pattern mostly cream with a few small dark spots posteriorly (versus yellow) (Boulenger 1893); from L. capucinus by having more ventrals (218 versus 182–211), fewer supralabials (8 versus 9–10), banded dorsal pattern (versus reticulated), cloacal single (versus divided), and more subcaudal scales (86 versus 59–74) (Neang et al. 2014); from L. cardamomensis by having more light bands on dorsum (23 versus 12–14), fewer dorsal scale rows at neck (17 versus 19), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus keeled on midbody), and more tail bands (14 versus 6–7) (Neang et al. 2014; Do et al. 2017); from L. davidi by having dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus middorsal scale rows weakly keeled), slightly fewer ventrals (218 versus 224), body cross-bands greyish cream with dark spots laterally (versus pale tan brown) (Vogel et al. 2012); from L. laoensis by having more ventrals (218 versus 169–192), more subcaudals (85 versus 60–76), fewer supralabials (8 versus 9–10), anterior chinshields slightly longer than posterior ones (versus anterior chinshields 2 to 3 times longer than posterior ones), cloacal single (versus divided) (Vogel & David 2010; Neang et al. 2014); from L. rosozonatum by having fewer dorsal scale rows at neck and at midbody (17–17 versus 19–19, respectively), the vertebral scale row not enlarged (versus distinctly enlarged), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus three to nine upper dorsal scale rows plus vertebral row weakly keeled), and fewer dorsal bands (23 versus 28–35) (Hu et al. 1975); from Lycodon ruhstrati abditus by dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus three to five dorsal scale rows plus vertebral row distinctly keeled), fewer subcaudals (85 versus 90–103), first body band starting at ventral scale 25 (versus 12–17), and first body band covering one vertebral scale (versus 5–6) (Vogel et al. 2009; Luu et al. 2013a); from L. zoosvictoriae by having more ventral scales (218 versus 213), dorsum banded (versus blotched), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus weakly keeled), dorsal head whitish grey (versus dark brown), dorsal tail banded (versus blotched) (Neang et al. 2014); from L. multifasciatus by having fewer ventral scales (218 versus 229–237), fewer subcaudals (85 versus 106–119 in males), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus upper dorsal and vertebral rows keeled), tail bands (14 versus 25–42), first body band starting at ventral scale 25 (versus 7–11), and first body band covered by one vertebral scale (versus about 6) (Maki 1931; Vogel et al. 2012); from L. ophiophagus by having more ventral scales (218 versus 211–212), fewer subcaudals (85 versus 87–90), and first body band covered by one vertebral scale (versus about 8) (Vogel et al. 2009; Vogel et al. 2012); from L. paucifasciatus by having fewer dorsal scale rows at neck (17 versus 19), dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus upper rows plus vertebral row keeled), fewer subcaudals (85 versus 92 in males), first body band starting at ventral scale 25 (versus 10–15), first body band covered by one vertebral scale (versus 9.5–11), and more light tail bands (14 versus 8–11) (Smith 1943; Vogel et al. 2009; Vogel et al. 2012; Neang et al. 2014); from L. synaptor by having more ventral scale rows (218 versus 201–203), fewer light bands on dorsum (23 versus 30–31), more subcaudals (85 versus 68–69), and dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus 6–7 dorsal scale rows keeled) (Vogel & David 2010) (for more details see Table 1).
The new species has a loreal which is not in contact with the orbit and thus differs from the following species of the Lycodon fasciatus group which have the loreal entering the orbit: L. butleri Boulenger; L. fasciatus; L. subcinctus. In addition, the new species differs from L. butleri by having fewer dorsal bands (23 versus 28–37), fewer tail bands (14 versus 17–23), belly pattern mostly cream (versus banded & spotted) (Grismer et al. 2014); from L. fasciatus by having dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus weakly keeled), dorsal head pattern whitish grey (versus dark), first body band starting at ventral scale 25 (versus 5–18), first body band covered by one vertebral scale (versus 3–12), ventral pattern mostly cream (versus banded) (Vogel & David 2010; Neang et al. 2014); from L. subcinctus by the presence of a preocular scale (versus absent), having dorsal scale rows being completely smooth (versus weakly keeled), single cloacal (versus divided), and more body bands (23 versus 9–15) (Neang et al. 2014) (for more details see Table 1). 
CommentHabitat: ground near shrubs in secondary karst forest.

NCBI taxonID: 2546291 [namdongensis] 
EtymologyWe name this species after its type locality, Nam Dong NR, where the new Lycodon was discovered. 
References
  • Janssen HY, Pham CT, Ngo HT, Le MD, Nguyen TQ, Ziegler T 2019. A new species of Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes, Colubridae) from northern Vietnam. ZooKeys 875: 1-29 - get paper here
  • LUU, VINH QUANG; THOMAS ZIEGLER, NGHIA VAN HA, MINH DUC LE, TUOI THI HOANG 2019. A new species of Lycodon Boie, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Zootaxa 4586 (2): 261-277 - get paper here
  • Wang K, Yu ZB, Vogel G, Che J. 2020. Contribution to the taxonomy of the genus Lycodon H. Boie in Fitzinger, 1827 (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae) in China, with description of two new species and resurrection and elevation of Dinodon septentrionale chapaense Angel, Bourret, 1933. Zool Res 42 (1): 62-86 [online 2020, in print 2021] - get paper here
 
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