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Muhtarophis barani (OLGUN, AVCI, ILGAZ, ÜZÜM & YILMAZ, 2007)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Baran’s Black-headed Dwarf Snake
G: Barans Schwarzkopf-Zwergnatter 
SynonymRhynchocalamus barani OLGUN, AVCI, ILGAZ, ÜZÜM & YILMAZ 2007
Rhynchocalamus barani — GRUBER 2009
Rhynchocalamus barani — WALLACH et al. 2014: 654
Muhtarophis barani — AVCI et al. 2015
Muhtarophis barani — ŠMÍD et al. 2015
Muhtarophis barani — RAJABIZADEH et al. 2020 
DistributionTurkey (Hatay Province)

Type locality: Amanos Mountain (36°50’N, 36°25’E; elevation 1310 m a.s.l.), 34 km E of Dörtyol, Hatay Province, Turkey  
TypesHolotype: ZDEU 122/2006: 1 (Zoology Department, Ege University, Turkey). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Rhynchocalamus barani n. sp. differs from congeneric species (R. melanocephalus melanocephalus, R. m. satunini and R. arabicus) in having higher number of dorsals (17 instead of 15) and lower number of ventrals (163–173 instead of 180–240) and upper labials in contact with eye (1 instead of 2) and by an oblique shape of the head at the anterior side. It also differs by a characteristic color-pattern of he body and the basic color of the head, by the presence of a black blotch under the eye running into a narrow stripe, all as described above. In contrast to other species of the genus the ground color of the dorsum is reddish brown with no spotting.

Diagnosis (genus): Muhtarophis gen. nov. is distinguished from other colubrin snake genera by the following combination of characteristics: having a wide and forward directed premaxilla bone and broad articulation between frontal, prefrontal and premaxilla bones, having narrow, elongated, flattened postorbital bones, bearing rear fangs on posterior maxilla separated from anterior teeth by an interspace, having round eye pupils, and having 17 dorsal scales at midbody and paired subcaudal scales. 
CommentType species: Rhynchocalamus barani OLGUN et al. 2007 is the type species of the genus Muhtarophis AVCI et al. 2015.

Distribution: For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. 
EtymologyThe new species is named in dedication to Prof. Dr. brahim BARAN of the University of Dokuz Eylül, Izmir, to acknowledge his prolific and uninterrupted contribution to the herpetology of the Turkey. 
  • Avci, A.; Üzüm, N.; Ilgaz, Ç.; Olgun, K. 2009. A new finding of Rhynchocalamus barani, Baran’s black-headed dwarf snake (Reptilia, Colubridae), in the Mediterranean region of Turkey widens its distribution range. Acta Herpetologica 4 (2): 177-182 - get paper here
  • Avcı, Aziz; Çetin Ilgaz, Mahdi Rajabizadeh, Can Yılmaz, Nazan Üzüm, Dominique Adriaens, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Kurtuluş Olgun 2015. Molecular Phylogeny and Micro CT-Scanning Revealed Extreme Cryptic Biodiversity in Kukri Snake, Muhtarophis gen. nov., a New Genus for Rhynchocalamus barani (Serpentes: Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 22 (3): 159-174
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Gruber, U. 2009. Die Schlangen Europas, 2. Aufl. Kosmos Naturführer, 266 pp.
  • Olgun, K.; Avci, A. Ilgaz, C.; Üzüm, N. & Yilmaz, C. 2007. A new species of Rhynchocalamus (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae) from Turkey. Zootaxa 1399: 57–68 - get paper here
  • Rajabizadeh M, Pyron RA, Nazarov R, Poyarkov NA, Adriaens D, Herrel A. 2020. Additions to the phylogeny of colubrine snakes in Southwestern Asia, with description of a new genus and species (Serpentes: Colubridae: Colubrinae). PeerJ 8: e9016 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R.; Alberto Venchi & Cristina Grieco 2013. The Reptiles of the Western Palearctic, Volume 2: Annotated Checklist and Distributional Atlas of the Snakes of Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, with an Update to Volume 1. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 543 pp. - get paper here
  • ŠMÍD, JIŘÍ; GABRIEL MARTÍNEZ, JURGEN GEBHART, JAVIER AZNAR, JAVIER GÁLLEGO, BAYRAM GÖÇMEN, PHILIP DE POUS, KARIN TAMAR & SALVADOR CARRANZA 2015. Phylogeny of the genus Rhynchocalamus (Reptilia; Colubridae) with a first record from the Sultanate of Oman. Zootaxa 4033 (3): 380–392 - get paper here
  • 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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