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Pareas mengziensis WANG, CHE, LIU, KI, JIN, JIANG, SHI & GUO, 2020

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Higher TaxaPareidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Mengzi Snail-eating Snake
Chinese: 蒙自钝头蛇 (Mengzi Dun-tou-she) 
SynonymPareas mengziensis WANG, CHE, LIU, KI, JIN, JIANG, SHI & GUO 2020 
DistributionChina (Yunnan)

Type locality: Mengzi, Yunnan Province, China, at an elevation of 1 900 m elevation  
TypesHolotype. YBU 14252, adult female, collected in July 2014.
Paratypes. Two adult females (YBU 141251 and YBU 15100) and three adult males (YBU 14253, YBU 14288, and YBU 15114) from the same locality and adjacent regions collected in July 2014 and July 2015. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. (1) solid black marking on back of head extending along whole dorsal of body; (2) single preocular; (3) postocular fused with subocular; (4) loreal not bordering orbit; (5) temporals 2+3+3; (6) prefrontal bordering orbit; (7) three rows of mid dorsal scales slightly enlarged; (8) 3–7 rows of mid dorsal scales keeled; (9) 6–7 supralabials; (10) 8–9 infralabials; (11) 6–7 maxillary teeth; (12) cloaca undivided; (13) ventral scales 167–173; (14) subcaudals 54–61, paired.

Comparison. Pareas mengziensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from P. carinatus, P. nuchalis, and P. menglaensis sp. nov. by having one thin elongated subocular (vs. two or three suboculars). It is most similar to P. yunnanensis Mell, 1931, P. niger Pope, 1928, and P. nigriceps in terms of color pattern, but differs from these species by eight or nine infralabials (vs. seven) and three rows of mid dorsal scales enlarged (vs. not enlarged or only one enlarged mid dorsal scale). It differs from the remaining species of Pareas by having a large solid black area on back of head and body.
EtymologyThe new species is named after the type locality Mengzi City, Yunnan Province, China. 
  • Wang P, Che J, Liu Q, Li K, Jin JQ, Jiang K, Shi L, Guo P 2020. A revised taxonomy of Asian snail-eating snakes Pareas (Squamata, Pareidae): evidence from morphological comparison and molecular phylogeny. ZooKeys 939: 45-64 - get paper here
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