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Phalotris normanscotti CABRAL & CACCIALI, 2015

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Chaco Burrowing Snake 
SynonymPhalotris normanscotti CABRAL & CACCIALI 2015 
DistributionParaguay (Boquerón)

Type locality: 3 km S of Filadelfia, 22°22’45’’S, 60°01’48’’W (all datum 5 WGS84), 138 m elevation (asl), Boquerón Department, Paraguay.  
TypesHolotype: MNHNP 5160; adult male (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural del Paraguay, San Lorenzo); collected 21 February 1995 by P. Freed and J. Furman; found dead on road. Paratypes. CZCEN0423 adult male; collected 23 March 2008 by K. Colman and P. Pérez at ‘‘Cruce Filadelfia,’’ 22°29’43’’S, 59°59’57’’W, 136 m asl, Boquerón Department; found dead on road; MNHNP 11844 juvenile female; collected 13 February 2014 by H. Cabral at Reserva Privada Chaco Lodge, 22°30’52’’S, 59°18’59’’W, 117 m asl, Presidente Hayes Department, Paraguay; found dead near house. 
CommentDiagonosis. The new taxon can be distinguished from all other species in the Phalotris bilineatus group by a combination of the following characters: (1) wide white nuchal collar; (2) wide black collar; (3) wide caudal ring; and (4) black ventral coloration reduced to some small black dots.
The new species belongs to the bilineatus group, based on a combination of the following characteristics: three series of temporal plates (1 + 1 + 2), dorsal coloration showing black stripes, black caudal ring, black spots in ventral region, and presence of nuchal collars (Ferrarezzi 1993).
Phalotris normanscotti sp. nov. differs from P. multi- punctatus in having the head entirely black without white marks (versus head black with some white spots in P. multipuntatus), dorsal scales without spots (with black spots in P. multipunctatus), higher number of ventral scales (218– 221 versus 170–186 in P. multipunctatus), and the presence of a caudal ring (absent in P. multipunctactus). It differs from P. lemniscatus and P. spegazzinii in having wide white and black nuchal collars of 6 and 5 scales wide respectively (versus white and black collars narrower [and sometimes absent], 1–1.5 and 2.5–3 scales wide, respectively, in P. lemniscatus and P. spegazzinii), ventral region immaculate or with a few black dots (versus black venter in P. lemniscatus and P. spegazzinii), and a wider caudal ring, 8–11 scales wide (versus 4–5 scales wide in P. lemniscatus and P. spegazzinii).

Sympatry: P. tricolor (in the Chaco) 
EtymologyThe specific name is a noun in the genitive case honoring Norman Scott, Jr., for his great contributions to the knowledge of the herpetofauna of Paraguay. 
  • Cabral, Hugo and Pier Cacciali 2015. A New Species of Phalotris (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from the Paraguayan Chaco. Herpetologica 72 (1): 72-77. - get paper here
  • Cacciali, Pier; Norman J. Scott, Aida Luz Aquino Ortíz, Lee A. Fitzgerald, and Paul Smith 2016. The Reptiles of Paraguay: Literature, Distribution, and an Annotated Taxonomic Checklist. SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MUSEUM OF SOUTHWESTERN BIOLOGY, NUMBER 11: 1–373 - get paper here
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