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Oligodon promsombuti PAUWELS, THONGYAI, CHANTONG & SUMONTHA, 2021

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymOligodon promsombuti PAUWELS, THONGYAI, CHANTONG & SUMONTHA 2021 
DistributionS Thailand (Surat Thani Province, Trang Province: Na Yong District)

Type locality: Khao Phanom Wang (= Phanomwung; ca. 9°05’35.3”N, 99°36’30.9”E), a limestone hill in Kanchanadit District, Surat Thani Province, peninsular Thailand.  
TypesHolotype: QSMI 1508 
DiagnosisDiagnosis; Oligodon promsombuti can be distinguished from all other congeneric species by a combination of its maximal known SVL of 552.7 mm; 12 maxillary teeth, the posterior three enlarged; two internasals; two prefrontals; eight supralabials; loreal present; two postoculars; 17-17-15 dorsal scale rows; 177 ventrals and 40 divided subcaudals; a single anal; deeply forked hemipenes lacking spines; dorsal color blackish brown with nearly indistinct paravertebral stripes; no dorsal or supracaudal blotches or crossbars; background color of belly ivory, heavily speckled with subrectangular blackish blotches (Pauwels et al., 2021).

Comparisons: By its possession of a single anal plate, Oligodon promsombuti is readily distinguished from the following species which show a divided anal plate: O. catenatus, O. cruentatus, O. dorsalis, O. eberhardti, O. jintakunei, O. mcdougalli, O. planiceps and O. theobaldi. Its 17 MSR easily separate it from Oligodon annamensis (13), O. catenatus (13), O. cyclurus (19), O. dorsalis (15), O. eberhardti (13), O. fasciolatus (21), O. inornatus (15), O. jintakunei (15), O. kampucheaensis (15), O. mcdougalli (13), O. ocellatus (19), O. planiceps (13), O. purpurascens (19 or 21), O. rostralis (15), O. taeniatus (19) and O. vertebralis (15). The absence of a prominent striped pattern separates it from Oligodon arenarius, O. catenatus, O. condaoensis, O. cruentatus, O. deuvei, O. dorsalis, O. huahin, O. mcdougalli, O. moricei, O. mouhoti, O. octolineatus, O. pseudotaeniatus, O. taeniatus and O. vertebralis. Lacking a blotched, banded and/or reticulated pattern makes Oligodon promsombuti is distinguishable from O. annamensis (banded), O. barroni (blotched), O. booliati (banded), O. cattienensis (blotched), O. cruentatus (reticulated), O. cyclurus (reticulated/blotched), O. fasciolatus (reticulated/blotched), O. jintakunei (banded), O. joynsoni (reticulated/banded), O. kampucheaensis (banded), O. moricei (striped and reticulated), O. mouhoti (two blotches above tail), O. ocellatus (reticulated/blotched), O. planiceps (reticulated), O. purpurascens (blotched/reticulated), O. rostralis (blotched/reticulated), O. saintgironsi (blotched/reticulated), O. saiyok (banded/blotched), O. signatus (blotched/banded) and O. vertebralis (blotched). The VEN number of Oligodon promsombuti (177) is distinctly higher than in O. arenarius (131–144), O. barroni (136–160), O. booliati (143–153), O. deuvei (140–155), O. kampucheaensis (164), O. macrurus (139–162), O. mouhoti (145–163), O. planiceps (132–145), O. pseudotaeniatus (137–156), O. rostralis (167), O. signatus (141–157), O. taeniatus (142–165) and O. vertebralis (136–154), and distinctly lower than in O. jintakunei (189), O. joynsoni (186–198) and O. mcdougalli (199). Its bifurcate hemipenes put Oligodon promsombuti apart from the following among the above listed species for which hemipenes are known to be unforked: O. arenarius, O. catenatus, O. cinereus, O. cruentatus, O. inornatus, O. joynsoni, O. mcdougalli, O. octolineatus, O. planiceps, O. purpurascens, O. signatus, O. theobaldi and O. vertebralis (hemipenes unknown in O. booliati, O. eberhardti, O. jintakunei, O. moricei and O. saiyok). With its 12 maxillary teeth, Oligodon promsombuti is distinguished from O. annamensis (8), O. arenarius (6–8), O. catenatus (7), O. cattienensis (8–10), O. cruentatus (14–16), O. cyclurus (9–10), O. dorsalis (6–7), O. eberhardti (7), O. fasciolatus (9–10), O. huahin (6), O. jintakunei (6), O. kampucheaensis (11), O. macrurus (13), O. mcdougalli (6), O. mouhoti (14–16), O. ocellatus (9–11), O. octolineatus (9–10), O. planiceps (10), O. pseudotaeniatus (15), O. purpurascens (9–10), O. rostralis (6), O. saiyok (13), O. signatus (7–8), O. taeniatus (14–17), O. theobaldi (15–16) and O. vertebralis (8–9) (number of maxillary teeth unknown in O. booliati). Oligodon promsombuti can be distinguished from O. phangan by its larger size (SVL 553 mm vs. 358 mm), its higher ventral number (177 vs. 163–166), its two preoculars, or one preocular with one presubocular (vs. one preocular and no presubocular), its darker dorsal coloration, and its ivory belly with numerous subrectangular blackish blotches (vs. pinkish-orange belly without such blotches) (Pauwels et al., 2021).

Color in life: Dorsal surface of the head blackish brown, with poorly contrasted, difficult-to-see darker marks: an interorbital transversal bar and a chevron pointing forward whose apex is on the middle of the frontal, extending backwards on each side of the neck. The lateral sides of the head are blackish brown, slightly lighter on the lower parts of the supralabials. The dorsum is blackish brown. Two paravertebral stripes, near-invisible as they are just very slightly darker than the background color, each less than two dorsals wide, begin on the nape and run along the dorsum. Uniformly dark pink tongue. The ventral color of the head, belly and tail is ivory, but a large proportion of the ventrals and subcaudals have their left or right side, or sometimes both, of the same color as the dorsum, giving a checkered appearance. Only the anteriormost part of the throat and the underside of the tail tip are uniformly ivory without dark marks. In preservative, the general color lightens, the cephalic marks become very difficult to see, and the dorsal vertebral stripes nearly disappear; the contrasted ventral pattern remains (Pauwels et al. 2021). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is a mark of friendship to Saksit Promsombut, one of the collectors of the holotype. 
  • PAUWELS, O. S., THONGYAI, K., CHANTONG, P., & SUMONTHA, M. 2021. Two new Kukri Snake species (Colubridae: Oligodon) from the Nakhon Si Thammarat Mountain Range, and addition of O. ocellatus to the fauna of Thailand. Zootaxa, 4908(4): 537-557 - get paper here
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