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Pareas kuznetsovorum POYARKOV, NGUYEN, PAWANGKHANANT, YUSHCHENKO, BRAKELS, NGUYEN, NGUYEN, SUWANNAPOOM, ORLOV & VOGEL, 2022

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Higher TaxaPareidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymPareas kuznetsovorum POYARKOV, NGUYEN, PAWANGKHANANT, YUSHCHENKO, BRAKELS, NGUYEN, NGUYEN, SUWANNAPOOM, ORLOV & VOGEL 2022: 58 
DistributionVietnam (Phu Yen Province: NE foothills of the Langbian Plateau)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: ZMMU R-16802 (field number NAP-10333), adult male collected by N. A. Poyarkov from the lowland semideciduous monsoon forest in Song Hinh Protected Forest, Song Hinh District, Phu Yen Province, southern Vietnam (N 12.77522, E 109.04606; elevation 583 m asl.) on January 16, 2021. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Pareas kuznetsovorum sp. nov. differs from other members of the genus Pareas by the combination of the following morphological characteristics: total length up to 639 mm; anterior pair of chin shields longer than broad; loreal and prefrontal not contacting the eye; two suboculars; one postocular; temporals 3 + 4; the single median vertebral scale row slightly enlarged; 7 supralabial scales; 7–8 infralabial scales; 15 dorsal scale rows, all smooth; 167 ventrals; 87 subcaudals, all divided; dorsum tan to light brown with distinct dark-brown vertebral line, blackish vertebral spots and 70 transverse dark-brown bands; upper postorbital stripes thick, black, contacting each other on the nuchal area forming a dark black Ψ-shaped chevron; lower postorbital stripes thin, black, reaching the anterior part of SL7, not continuing to the lower jaw and chin; belly yellow with sparce dark-gray dusting and brown elongated spots forming three longitudinal lines on ventrals; iris uniform off-white with beige lateral parts.

Description of the holotype (ZMMU R-16802): Adult male, specimen in a good state of preservation (Fig. 14); body slender and notably flattened laterally; head large, narrowly elongated, clearly distinct from thin neck (head more than two times wider than neck width near the head basis); snout blunt; eye rather large, pupil vertical and elliptical.

Body size. SVL 478 mm; TaL 161 mm; TL 639 mm; TaL/TL: 0.252.

Body scalation. Dorsal scales in 15–15–15 rows, all scales smooth and lacking apical pits; vertebral scales slightly enlarged; the outermost dorsal scale row not enlarged; ventrals 167 (+ 1 preventral), lacking lateral keels; subcaudals 87, all divided; cloacal plate single.

Head scalation. Rostral not visible from above; nasal single; two internasals, much wider than long, narrowing and slightly curving back laterally (in dorsal view), anteriorly in contact with rostral, laterally in contact with nasal and loreal, posteriorly in contact with prefrontal, not contacting preocular; two large pentagonal prefrontals, much larger than internasals and with a straight suture between them, not in contact with eye; one hexagonal frontal, longer than wide, with the lateral sides parallel to the body axis, roughly the same size as the parietals; single preocular; single postocular, semicrescentic in shape, not fused with subocular; two suboculars; single loreal, in contact with preocular, prefrontal, internasal and nasal, not touching the eye; 7/7 supralabials, 3rd to 5th SL touching the subocular, none of them reaching the eye, 7th by far the largest, elongated; 1/1 supraoculars; 3/3 anterior temporals and 3/4 posterior temporals; 8/7 infralabials, the anteriormost in contact with opposite along midline forming a straight suture, bordering mental, the anterior 5 pairs of infralabials bordering the anterior chin shields; 3 pairs of chin shields interlaced, no mental groove under chin and throat; anterior chin shields relatively large, notably longer than broad, followed by the two pairs of chin shields that are much broader than long.

Coloration. In life, the dorsal surfaces of the head brownish with dense darker marbling (Fig. 15A). Head laterally off-white with dark-brown spots and blotches, ventrally yellowish-white with few small black spots. Head with two lateral postorbital stripes: the lower one is a thin black line starting from the posterior portion of subocular and running ventrally and posteriorly towards lower temporals to the posterior part of the 6th supralabial and further to the anterior part of 7th supralabial; the upper one is a well-defined thick black line starting from the upper part of postocular backwards to the dorsal scales of neck (Figs. 14C and 14D), where it joins a large rectangular black spot covering the nape, overall forming a dark black Ψ-shaped chevron pattern (Fig. 14E). Upper labials marked with a dense brown dusting. Dorsal surfaces of the body tan to light brown with a distinct dark-brown line running along the vertebral scale row, and with about 70 black vertebral spots and transverse dark-brown bands (Figs. 14A and 14B); ventral surfaces of the head, body and tail yellowish with sparce dark-gray dusting and brown elongated spots forming three longitudinal lines on ventrals (Figs. 14A and 14B). Iris uniform off-white with beige lateral parts; pupil black (Figs. 14C and 14D). In preservative: After 6 months of storage in ethanol the general coloration pattern has not changed; the tan coloration of dorsum slightly faded becoming light grayish-brown, light coloration on head and iris faded becoming brownish; other features of coloration remain unchanged.

Comparisons: Pareas kuznetsovorum sp. nov. differs from P. berdmorei by all
dorsal scales smooth (vs. 3–13 dorsal scale rows keeled), higher number of subcaudals (87 vs. 63–78 [average 71.13 ± 7.23]), by the presence of black chevron on the nuchal area (vs. absent); the new species further differs from P. carinatus by the presence of two postoculars (vs. single or absent); by a generally higher number of subcaudals (87 vs. 54–96 [average 69.24 ± 8.98]), by all dorsal scale rows smooth (vs. 3–11 dorsal scale rows keeled [average 6.52 ± 2.94]), by the presence of black nuchal chevron (vs. absent); and by a lower number of enlarged vertebral scale rows (1 vs. 3 [average 2.83 ± 0.56]); it further differs from P. nuchalis by prefrontal not contacting the eye (vs. in contact); by lower number of ventrals (167 vs. 201–220 [average 209.89 ± 5.25]); and by a lower number of subcaudals (87 vs. 102–120 [average 111.11 ± 6.05]). Morphological comparisons between all species of the subgenus Pareas are detailed in Table S13. 
Comment 
EtymologyNamed after two biologists, Andrei N. Kuznetsov and Svetlana P. Kuznetsova. They have greatly contributed to organization of biological expedtions of the Joint Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Center in various parts of Vietnam from 1996 to 2021; without their enthusiasm and support our fieldwork in Vietnam, including the expedition during which the holotype of the new species was collected, would have not been possible. 
References
  • Poyarkov NA, Nguyen TV, Pawangkhanant P, Yushchenko PV, Brakels P, Nguyen LH, Nguyen HN, Suwannapoom C, Orlov N, Vogel G. 2022. An integrative taxonomic revision of slug-eating snakes (Squamata: Pareidae: Pareineae) reveals unprecedented diversity in Indochina. PeerJ 10: e12713 - get paper here
 
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