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Pareas atayal YOU, POYARKOV & LIN, 2015

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Higher TaxaPareidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Atayal Slug-eating Snake 
SynonymPareas atayal YOU, POYARKOV & LIN 2015 
DistributionTaiwan (Taoyuan), elevation 100–2000 m

Type locality: TAIWAN, Taoyuan County, Fuxing Township, Sileng (24.653570° N, 121.409266° E), elevation ca. 925 m.  
TypesHolotype: NMNS 05594 (Fig. S3), adult male collected
by Chung-Wei You on August 27th, 2009.
Paratypes. NMNS 05584, 05585, 05586, 05587, 05588, 05589, 05591, 05593, 05595, 05596; ZMMU R-14434, R- 14435 and R-14436. All the paratypes collected during 2009–2013 by Chung-Wei You, Jia-Wei Lin and Ren-Jay Wang in northern Taiwan. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Pareas atayal sp. nov. is a small (about 50 cm) slender yellow-brown snake, a member of Pareas hamptoni group on the basis of the following combination of mor- phological attributes: (1) nasal simple, not divided; (2) lor- eal not contacting the eye; (3) prefrontal contacting the eye; (4) one pre-ocular; (5) subocular single, crescent- shaped; (6) two anterior temporals, three to four posterior temporals (2 + 4); (7) slightly enlarged median vertebral and two adjacent rows of scales. Pareas atayal sp. nov. dif- fers from all other members of the Pareas by the combina- tion of the following morphological characters: (8) tail comprising 22% of the TL; (9) 7–9 infralabial scales; (10) 15 dorsal scale rows slightly keeled in seven rows at mid- body; dorsal scales smooth or one row slightly keeled in the anterior 1/4 of TL; (11) head notably elongated with HW/HL ratio 28%; (12) 174–188 ventrals without lateral keels; (13) 71–77 divided subcaudals; (14) iris colour bright yellow to light orange; (15) 50 slightly billowing vertical dark bars on the trunk (the bars about 1–2 scales wide); (16) two very clear thin black postorbital stripes beginning from lower and upper edges of each postorbital scale, with lower postorbital stripe reaching the anterior part of SL7, not continuing to the lower jaw and chin; the left and right upper postorbital stripes forming a bifurcation at the base of the head forming an M-shaped figure (about 4–6 scale-length) and often connecting together behind head; (17) 6–7 maxillary teeth; 11–13 functional teeth on the left mandible and 19–20 on the right.
CommentBehavior: nocturnal

Diet: land snails and slugs 
EtymologyThe new species is named with reference to its distribution which is similar to the native Taiwan aboriginal people, the Atayal, inhabiting mountain regions of northern Taiwan. 
  • Hoso M. 2017. Asymmetry of mandibular dentition is associated with dietary specialization in snail-eating snakes. PeerJ 5:e3011 - get paper here
  • You, Chung-Wei; Nikolay A. Poyarkov Jr and Si-Min Lin 2015. Diversity of the snail-eating snakes Pareas (Serpentes, Pareatidae) from Taiwan. Zoologica Scripta DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12111 - get paper here
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