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Metlapilcoatlus indomitus (SMITH & FERRARI-CASTRO, 2008)

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymAtropoides indomitus E.N. SMITH & FERRARI-CASTRO 2008
Atropoides mexicanus — ESPINAL et al. in JOHNSON et al. 2001: 103
Atropoides mexicanus — WILSON et al. in JOHNSON et al. 2001 (part.)
Atropoides mexicanus — MARINEROS 2000: 143 (part.)
Atropoides mexicanus — CAMPBELL and LAMAR 2004: 281 (part)
Atropoides occiduus — CASTOE et al. 2005: 884
Atropoides indomitus — JADIN et al. 2009
Atropoides indomitus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 85
Metlapilcoatlus indomitus — CAMPBELL et al. 2019 
DistributionHonduras (Sierra de Botaderos and La Muralla)

Type locality: near the edge of Quebrada de Botaderos, Montaña de Botaderos, Departamento de Colón, Honduras, 670 m elevation (15°26’03.4” N, 86°08’37.3” W).  
TypesHolotype: UTA R-52952, an adult male, The University of Texas at Arlington, collected between 17 and 22 May 2002 by J. A. Ferrari-Castro. Paratype: USNM. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (from abstract): The new species is easily distinguished from all other members of the genus, except A. picadoi from Costa Rica and Panama, by possessing more ventral scales (140 vs. 3–138). This new species differs from A. picadoi in being relatively small, less than 600 mm in total length (vs. reaching > 750 mm), having the posterior third of the body venter heavily melanized (vs. more than 50%), less than 50% of the underside of the tail melanized, and the postorbital stripe covering more than 50% of only one or two scales from the first temporal row and covering completely only the last scale of the row, at most (vs. 3–4 more than 50% melanized and the last two scales in the row usually completely melanized). In addition to morphological characters, molecular evidence also differentiates this new species from the other species of Atropoides (as recognized by Castoe et al. 2005). Using mitochondrial gene sequence data, they found the new species described herein to represent the sister species of A. occiduus, with 5.7 % sequence divergence separating these two taxa.

Diagnosis (from main text): A relatively small terrestrial pitviper (female and male 549 and 573 mm TL, respectively) in which the tail comprises 13.7% of the TL in the single known male and .9% in the single known female. There are 0–1 nasorostrals, 8– intersupraoculars that are distinctly keeled, 23–24 interrictals that are also keeled, –11 supralabials, 11–12 infralabials, 140 ventrals, 37–41 subcaudals (first divided), 24–25 dorsal scale rows at midbody, 26–32 lateral body blotches, and 5–6 tail blotches.
Atropoides indomitus can be distinguished from all other known species of Atropoides, except A. picadoi from Costa Rica and adjacent Panama, by having more ventral scales, 140 compared to a maximum of 130, 136, 135, and 116 in males, and 135, 138, 137, and 119 in females of A. mexicanus, A. nummifer, A. occiduus, and A. olmec respectively. Additionally, A. indomitus differs from A. mexicanus, a potentially sympatric species, in having a single scale between the prelacunal and second supralabial (vs. 2 or 3), a single or no nasorostral (vs. 2–4), the rostral apex reaching the canthal ridge, and the postorbital stripe including temporal rows 2 and 3 at midlength (vs. 3 and 4; see Campbell and Lamar 2004: 276, Fig. 91). It differs from A. nummifer, occurring on the slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental of Mexico, in having the postocular stripe extending up to five scales behind the rictus (vs. usually ending at the ultimate infralabial or no more than two to three scales behind the rictus), in having the anterior two thirds of the body venter nearly immaculate or just finely stippled at the midline (vs. multiple dark ventrolateral blotches extending more than 1/4 the width of the ventrals into the midline), and in having the underside of the tail with some dark pigment, paler towards tip and near vent (vs. nearly completely black in most specimens). Atropoides indomitus can be distinguished further from A. occiduus in having a subocular spot that does not contact the orbit of the eye (vs. contacting orbit), a postorbital stripe including only the last three temporal scales of the first row, with only the posterior one or two scales more than half pigmented (vs. covering completely or almost completely three or more temporal scales of the first row), in having the dark spot below the pit small and only encompassing the prelacunal and anterior part of the postlacunal and the edge of the contiguous foveals (vs. large and encompassing also most of the contiguous foveals and usually even part of supralabials 2 and 3), in having a high number of supralabials, –11 (vs. 8–), in having a high number of subcaudals, 37–40 (vs. 24–36, for both males and females), and in having a nearly immaculate venter or with only slight mid-ventral stippling on the anterior two thirds of the body (vs. multiple dark ventrolateral blotches extending more than 1/4 the width of the ventrals into the midline, a checkered pattern, or at least some heavy mottling on the anterior half of the body). The new species differs from A. olmec by possessing a rostral that reaches the canthal ridge (vs. terminating well below the ridge), one or no nasorostrals (vs. 1–3, 3 being most common), a single scale between the second supralabial and the prelacunal (vs. 2–3), and a high number of subcaudals, 37 in males and 28 in females (vs. 25–33 in males and 25–30 in females). Atropoides indomitus differs from A. picadoi in being smaller (573 mm maximum known TL vs. reaching > 750 mm [Campbell and Lamar 2004]), having 50% or more of the last third of the venter of the body pale (vs. very dark posterior third of body venter, more than 50% melanized), the underside of the tail more than 50% pale (vs. adults with all or most of the tail black), the postorbital stripe covering more than 50% in only one or two scales from the first temporal row, completely only the ultimate, at most (vs. 3–4 and the last two usually completely melanized). Atropoides indomitus has fewer ventral scales than most of its congeners, 140 (vs. 138-155), the female has fewer subcaudals (28 vs. 30–37), whereas the male subcaudal count of 37 overlaps only with that of A. picadoi (34–40) [SMITH et al. 2008]. 

Conservation: one of the 30 most endangered viper species (Maritz et al. 2016). 
Etymologyfrom the Latin adjective indomitabilis, meaning “that which can not be conquered.” This name is given for two reasons: to honor Hondurans, who maintain a strong spirit, despite extreme hardships, and to credit the project “Honduras Indomita” that lead to the discovery of this species. 
  • Campbell, Jonathan A. and William W. Lamar 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere, 2 vols. Comstock (Cornell University Press), Ithaca, NY, 962 pp. [review in Science 305: 182]
  • Campbell, Jonathan; Darrel R. Frost and Todd A. Castoe 2019. A NEW GENERIC NAME FOR JUMPING PITVIPERS (SERPENTES: VIPERIDAE). Rev. Latinoamer. Herp. 2 (2): 52-53 - get paper here
  • Castoe, Todd A.; Mahmood M. Sasa and Christopher L. Parkinson 2005. Modeling nucleotide evolution at the mesoscale: The phylogeny of the Neotropical pitvipers of the Porthidium group (Viperidae: Crotalinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37 (3): 881-898 - get paper here
  • Jadin, Robert C.; Ronald L. Gutberlet Jr and Eric N. Smith 2010. Phylogeny, evolutionary morphology, and hemipenis descriptions of the Middle American jumping pitvipers (Serpentes: Crotalinae: Atropoides). J Zool Syst Evol Res 48(4): 360–365; doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2009.00559.x - get paper here
  • Johnson, J.D., Webb, R., & Flores-Villela, O. (Ed.) 2001. Mesoamerican Herpetology: Systematics, Zoogeography, and Conservation. Centennial Museum, Special Publication No. 1, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas
  • López, L. G. Z., & Paz, M. A. 2021. First Data of Reproductive Biology of Metlapilcoatlus indomitus (Serpentes: Viperidae) in Captivity. Caribbean Journal of Science, 51(1), 92-100 - get paper here
  • Marineros, Leonel 2000. Guia de las Serpientes de Honduras. Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., 252 pp.
  • Maritz, Bryan; Johannes Penner, Marcio Martins, Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailović, Stephen Spear, Laura R.V. Alencar, Jesús Sigala-Rodriguez, Kevin Messenger, Rulon W. Clark, Pritpal Soorae, Luca Luiselli, Chris Jenkins, Harry W. Greene 2016. Identifying global priorities for the conservation of vipers. Biological Conservation, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2016.05.004 - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • Medina-Flores, Melissa, Jorge Luis Murillo and Josiah H. Townsend. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Atropoides indomitus (Honduran Jumping Pitviper). Herpetological Review 47 (2): 261 - get paper here
  • Smith, E.N. & Ferrari-Castro, J.A. 2008. A new species of jumping pitviper of the genus Atropoides (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae) from the Sierra de Botaderos and the Sierra La Muralla, Honduras. Zootaxa 1948: 57–68 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., M. R. Espinal, E. Wostl, J. M. Mora, L. G. Zuniga, and J. Bonilla. 2017. New distribution and habitat records for Atropoides indomitus (Serpentes: Viperidae), a Honduran endemic. Honduras, Francisco Morazán, Choluteca. Mesoamerican Herpetology 4(4): 988–992 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • VAN DEN BERGHE, E., A. RAMOS, AND J. H. TOWNSEND 2020. Geographic Distribution: Metlapilcoatlus indomitus (Honduran Jumping Pitviper). Honduras: Francisco Morazán: Municipality Of San Antonio De Oriente. Herpetological Review. 51:546-547.
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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