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Protobothrops himalayanus PAN, CHETTRI, YANG, JIANG, WANG, ZHANG & VOGEL, 2013

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Higher TaxaViperidae, Crotalinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesChinese: 喜山原矛头蝮 
SynonymProtobothrops himalayanus PAN, CHETTRI, YANG, JIANG, WANG, ZHANG & VOGEL 2013
Protobothrops jerdoni — GUO et al. 2009
Protobothrops sp. — SHARMA 2013 
DistributionChina (S Tibet), Nepal, Bhutan, India (Sikkim)

Type locality: Jilong Valley, Jilong County, southern Tibet, China (85.35360° E, 28.37996° N; elevation 2708 m)  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: KIZ 012736 (Figure 1), an adult female, collected by Kai WANG and Hujun PAN on 14 June 2012, and deposited in KIZ. Paratypes: JL 20120614-001, an adult female from the same locality as the holotype, a road killed specimen, collected by Hujun PAN on 23 May 2012, and deposited in South China Institute of Endangered Animals, Guangzhou, China; ZSI 25990 (Figure 2), an adult male from Chungthang, northern Sikkim, India, collected by Basundhara CHETTRI on 16 August 2008, and deposited in ZSI, Kolkata, India. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This new species is assigned to the genus Protobothrops on the basis of the following characters: 2 large solenoglyph teeth and a loreal pit; dorsal head covered with very small scales; body and tail elongated, thin and cylindrical; DSR 25 at midbody, keeled except the outermost; and distinct transverse bands found across body and tail (Hoge and Romano-Hoge, 1983). Protobothrops himalayanus sp. nov. differs from other species of Protobothrops by the following characters: 1) relatively large body size (TL up to 1510 mm ); 2) DSR 25–25–19; 3) with the exception of the smooth outermost row, dorsal scales are weakly keeled; 4) relatively high number of ventral (198–216) and subcaudal scales (65–76 pairs); 5) 7–8 supralabials; 6) 11 to 13 infralabials; 7) dorsal head uniform dark brown, laterally a reddish- brown obscure postocular streak, starting behind the eye; 8) dorsal body and tail olive, with distinct black edged red brown transverse bands across the body and tail; and 9) eye found from bright brown and reddish brown to mildly brown.
CommentSynonymy: previously considered as P. jerdoni.

Distribution: see map in Guo et a. 2016: 383 (Fig. 1).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the mountain range, the Himalayas. All of the current known distribution localities are on the southern slope of the Himalayas. The suggested English name is the Himalayan Pitviper, and the Chinese name is Xi Shan Yuan Mao Tou Fu. 
  • Guo, P., A. Malhotra, C. Li, S. Creer, C. E. Pook, and T. Wen 2009. Systematics of the Protobothrops jerdonii complex (Serpentes, Viperidae, Crotalinae) inferred from morphometric data and molecular phylogeny. The Herpetological Journal 19: 85-96 - get paper here
  • GUO, PENG; QIN LIU, TAO WEN, RONG XIAO, MING FANG, GUANGHUI ZHONG, NGUYEN Q. TRUONG, FEI ZHU, ROBERT C. JADIN, CAO LI 2016. Multilocus phylogeny of the Asian Lance-headed pitvipers (Squamata, Viperidae, Protobothrops). Zootaxa 4093 (3): 382–390 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • PAN, Hujun; Basundhara CHETTRI, Daode YANG, Ke JIANG, Kai WANG, Liang ZHANG and Gernot VOGEL 2013. A New Species of the Genus Protobothrops (Squamata: Viperidae) from Southern Tibet, China and Sikkim, India. Asian Herpetological Research 4 (2): 109–115 - get paper here
  • Sharma, S.K., Pandey, D.P., Shah, K.B., Tillack, E, Chappuis, E, Thapa, C. L., AiroI, E. & Kuch, U. 2013. Venomous snakes of Nepal: a photographic guide. B.P. Kolrala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, 85 pp. - get paper here
  • Tshewang, S. & L. Letro 2018. The herpetofauna of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in central Bhutan: status, distribution and new records. Journal of Threatened Taxa 10(11): 12489–12498; - get paper here
  • Vogel, Gernot 2014. „Harmlose“ Schlange auf der Straße oder die Entdeckung einer neuen Grubenotter im Himalaya. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (4): 60-63 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
  • Wangyal, Jigme Tshelthrim 2019. The status of herpetofauna of Bhutan. District Forest Office, District Administration, Trashigang, Bhutan, 20-39 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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