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Rhabdophis akraios DORIA, PETRI, BELLATI, TISO & PISTARINO, 2013

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Singalang Keelback 
SynonymRhabdophis akraios DORIA, PETRI, BELLATI, TISO & PISTARINO 2013 
DistributionIndonesia (Sumatra)

Type locality: Indonesia, Sumatra Island, Province of Sumatera Barat, Mount Singalang  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MSNG 55942A; collected VI.1878, O. Beccari. Paratype: MSNG 55942B; Indonesia, Sumatra Island, Province of Sumatera Barat, Mount Singalang; VI.1878, O. Beccari. 
DiagnosisDescription (holotype). Total length cm 77; tail length cm 15; head length (tip of snout to angle of jaws) mm 23.9; head width mm 13.8; diameter of eye mm 5.35; distance eye-nostril mm 4.05.
Rostral wider than high, in contact with internasal, nasal and first supralabial; two nasals; internasals subquadrate; loreal and supraocular present; preocular present and not in contact with frontal; three postoculars; nine supralabials pale at the basis: fourth, fifth and sixth in contact with eye; eleven (right side) and ten (left side) infralabials: from the first to the sixth in contact with anterior chin shields, from the sixth to the eighth with posterior chin shields; two temporals and two post-temporals; frontal pentagonal slightly longer than wide; parietal hexagonal, longer than frontal.
At each side seventeen maxillary teeth and, after a gap, two fangs.

Dorsal scales keeled, first row slightly largest than remaining rows; 19 rows at one head length behind head, 17 rows at midbody, 17 rows at one head length before vent.
Ventral scales 184; subcaudal scales 66 paired; anal divided.
Colour in alcohol: dorsal colour uniform dark grey (dark brown little areas are due to the presence of older scales) with short transversal clear bars. Gular region yellowish; ventral scales with a yellowish posterior part and a grey anterior part that becomes prevalent in the direction of the tail; ventrals with also, at the sides, grey little bars that almost make two parallel lines; presence of a central dark line from the tenth ventral scale to the anal.

Description (paratype). Total length cm 88; tail length cm 14; head length (tip of snout to angle of jaws) mm 27.1; head width mm 16.4; diameter of eye mm 4.75; distance eye-nostril mm 4.50.
Rostral almost twice wider than high, in contact with internasal, nasal and first supralabial; two nasals; internasals subquadrate; loreal and supraocular present; preocular present and not in contact with frontal; three postoculars; nine supralabials pale at the basis: fourth, fifth and sixth in contact with eye; eleven infralabials: from the first to the sixth in contact with anterior chin shields, from the sixth to the eighth with posterior chin shields; two temporals and two (left side) and three (right side) posttemporals; frontal pentagonal longer than wide partially divided from a line that is the continuation of the separation of internasals and prefrontals; parietal long and irregular hexagonal.
Maxillary teeth: ten and, after a gap, one fang at the right side; seven and, after a gap, one fang at the left side.
Dorsal scales keeled, first row slightly largest than remaining rows; 19 rows at one head length behind head, 19 rows at midbody, 17 rows at one head length before vent.
Ventral scales 167; subcaudal scales 44 paired; anal divided.

Colour in alcohol: dorsal colour uniform dark grey (dark brown little areas are due to the presence of older scales). Gular region yellowish; ventral scales with a yellowish posterior part and a grey anterior part that becomes prevalent in the direction of the tail; ventrals with also, at the sides, grey little bars that almost make two parallel lines; with the exception of the first third of the body, little spots in the centre of the ventrals that become elongated spots at the
posterior part of the body.

Comparisons. R. akraios differs from congeneric species of the Sunda Region both for the colour and ornamentation and for the features reported in Table I on the basis of the specimens preserved in the Museum of Genova and of the data reported by Manthey & Grossmann (1997), Stuebing & Inger (1999), De Lang & Vogel (2005) and Das (2010).
In Sumatra are present R. chrysargos, R. conspicillatus, R. subminiatus subminiatus (David & Vogel 1996) and the new species R. akraios.
R. chrysargos is the sympatric and most similar species to R. akraios but they differ for the following characters: 1) the new species has a stouter body and more strongly keeled dorsal rows; 2) the tail length/total length is 0.19 (male) and 0.16 (female) in R. akraios while is between 0.23 and 0.28 in R. chrysargos; 3) in alcohol the dorsal colour is uniform dark grey in R. akraios, brownish in R. chrysargos; 4) ventral colour is yellowish and grey in R. akraios, cream in R. chrysargos. 
CommentOnly known from 2 specimens (Doria et al. 2013). 
EtymologyThe species is named from ancient greek “akraios” that means “who lives on the heights” as the type locality is a mount. 
References
  • Doria, Giuliano; Massimo Petri, aDriana Bellati, MiCaela tiso & Erika Pistarino 2013. RHABDOPHIS IN THE MUSEUM OF GENOVA WITH DESCRIPTION AND MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF A NEW SPECIES FROM SUMATRA (REPTILIA, SERPENTES, COLUBRIDAE, NATRICINAE). Annali del Museo Civico di storia naturale “G. Doria” 105: 139-153
  • ZHU, GUANG-XIANG; YING-YONG WANG,HIROHIKO TAKEUCHI & ER-MI ZHAO 2014. A new species of the genus Rhabdophis Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Guangdong Province, southern China. Zootaxa 3765 (5): 469–480 - get paper here
 
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