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Madagascarophis fuchsi GLAW, KUCHARZEWSKI, KÖHLER, VENCES & NAGY, 2013

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Higher TaxaPseudoxyrhophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymMadagascarophis fuchsi GLAW, KUCHARZEWSKI, KÖHLER, VENCES & NAGY 2013 
DistributionN Madagascar (dry forests of the limestone massif Montagne des Français)

Type locality: close to the remains of the French Fort, Montagne des Français (12°19‘34“S, 49°20‘09“E, ca. 300 m above sea level), Antsiranana province, northern Madagascar.  
TypesHolotype: ZSM 2130/2007 (field number FGZC 1152; Figs. 4 and 5), adult female, collected on 27 February 2007, by F. Glaw, J. Köhler, H. Enting, P. Bora, and A. Knoll. Paratypes. ZSM 1620/2008 (MgF 061, FGZC 1737), adult female, collected at Montagne des Français, Antsiranana province, northern Madagascar (ca. 12°19‘S, 49°20‘E), at an uncertain date but most probably between 2005 and 2007, by the team of Frontiers Madagascar; ZMA.RENA 19623 (FGMV 2002.3093), adult female, collected at Montagne des Français, Antsiranana province, northern Madagascar, on 20 February 2003, by F. Glaw, R. D. Randrianiaina and A. Razafimanantsoa. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The new species is characterized by the combination of the following characters: Relatively low number of midbody scale rows (25), relatively low number of ventral scales (171–172), a low ratio of ventrals/ subcaudals (2.38–2.61), a posterior part of the tail that is almost entirely black dorsally, and a relative high number of scales (13–16) bordering the parietals (temporals + occipital scales, without circumoculars and frontal). Madagascarophis fuchsi sp. nov. differs from all other species of the genus Madagascarophis by (1) the broad contact between the posterior inframaxillaries (genials) which in all other examined Madagascarophis specimens are separated by inserted gulars, and (2) by the lowest number of ventral scales within the genus (171–172 vs. 183–209 in M. colubrinus including M. c. citrinus, 205–224 in M. ocellatus, and 197–232 in M. meridionalis according to Domergue 1987). Furthermore the new species differs from M. meridionalis and M. ocellatus by having only 25 dorsal scale rows at midbody vs. 29–31 in M. ocellatus and 29–33 in M. meridionalis. Madagascarophis fuchsi differs from the syntopic subspecies M. c. septentrionalis (including the holotype and paratype of this taxon, see data in Table 1) by a lower number of midbody scale rows (25 vs. 27–29) and a distinctly lower number of ventral scales (171–172 vs. 186–200). It furthermore differs from M. colubrinus ssp. and M. meridionalis by substantial genetic differentiation (see Nagy et al. 2007, 2012 and Fig. 1). 
CommentMadagascarophis fuchsi sp. nov. is characterized by a broad contact between the posterior inframaxillaries (genials), 25 dorsal scale rows at midbody, and a low number of ventrals (171–172).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyThe senior author wishes to dedicate this new species to his former colleague and snake specialist Dieter Fuchs in recognition of his long-lasting work (1960–2007) as a technician in the herpetology section of the Zoologische Staatssammlung München, with congratulations and best wishes for his 70th birthday. 
  • GLAW, FRANK; CHRISTOPH KUCHARZEWSKI, JÖRN KÖHLER, MIGUEL VENCES, ZOLTÁN T. NAGY 2013. Resolving an enigma by integrative taxonomy: Madagascarophis fuchsi (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae), a new opisthoglyphous and microendemic snake from northern Madagascar. Zootaxa 3630 (2): 317–332 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Kwet, Axel 2014. Liste der im Jahr 2013 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (3): 56-67 - get paper here
  • Ruane, Sara; Frank T. Burbrink, Bernard Randriamahatantsoa, and Christopher J. Raxworthy 2016. The Cat-eyed Snakes of Madagascar: Phylogeny and Description of a New Species of Madagascarophis (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae) from the Tsingy of Ankarana. Copeia: September 104 (3): 712-721 - get paper here
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