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Stegonotus iridis RUANE, RICHARDS, MCVAY, TJATURADI, KREY & AUSTIN, 2017

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Iridescent groundsnake 
SynonymStegonotus iridis RUANE, RICHARDS, MCVAY, TJATURADI, KREY & AUSTIN 2017
Stegonotus iridis — KAISER et al. 2018: 54 
DistributionIndonesia (West Papua: Raja Ampat islands of Batanta, Salawati and Waigeo)

Type locality: Warinkabom, Batanta Island, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia, elevation 50 m elevation (0.836942°S, 130.72162°E)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MZB Ophi.3306 (field number SJR 7623, tissue ABTC 90141), adult male. Collected by S. Richards, B. Tjaturadi and K. Krey on 9 June 2005. Paratypes: SAMA R70466 (field number SJR 7514, tissue ABTC 90088) collected by S. Richards, B. Tjaturadi and K. Krey on 5 June 2005 from Waire Camp, Batanta Island, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia, elevation 25 m asl (0.839738°S, 130.525546°E); MZB.Ophi.3305 (field number SJR 7624, tissue ABTC 90142) collected by S. Richards, B. Tjaturadi and K. Krey on 11 June 2005 from Urbinasopen, Waigeo Island, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia, elevation 45 m asl (0.337183°S, 131.258800°E); MZB.Ophi.3303 (field number SJR 7691, tissue ABTC 90173) collected by S. Richards, B. Tjaturadi and K. Krey on 18 June 2005 from Yakut Camp, Batanta Island, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province, Indonesia, elevation 55 m asl (0.895817°S, 130.641633°E); MZB.Ophi.3311, MZB.Ophi.3302 (field numbers SJR 7794, tissue ABTC 90230; SJR 7793, tissue ABTC 90229), collected by S. Richards, B. Tjaturadi and K. Krey on 27 and 28 June 2005 from Waibya, Salawati Island, Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua, Indonesia, eleva- tion 75 m asl (0.956383°S, 130.784333°E). 
DiagnosisA new species of Stegonotus that can be diagnosed from its congeners by the following combination of characters: a completely white or white with a brownish washed, irides- cent dorsum, with or without brown or black speckling which increases posteriorly, an immaculate white venter and white subcaudal scales or, in individuals that are more heavily pigmented dorsally, a white venter with a brownish wash increasing in intensity posteriorly, brown or black pigmentation on the dorsal scales of the head (including rostral, internasal, prefrontal, frontal, parietals, loreal, supralabial and ocular scales) usually extending down the neck two or three scale rows before fading away, 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody (infrequently 17), the absence of apical pits on dorsal scales, 198−211 ventral scales and 78−88 divided subcaudal scales, eight (infrequently nine) supralabial scales and 10 (infrequently nine) infralabial scales, with supralabial scales brownish or blackish and infralabial scales either white or, in highly pigmented individuals, brownish or blackish.

Comparisons: The white or off-white dorsal and ventral colour of Stegonotus iridis sp. nov., with a dark coloured head that includes white edges on most head scales, is unique for the genus. Although S. cucullatus has a pale phase that includes cream or yellowish-tan coloured dorsal scales with black edges resulting in a reticulated dorsal pattern (Figure 1(a)), the base coloration is not as white and appears more cream to tan when compared with S. iridis sp. nov. (Figures 2, 4, 5 in Ruane et al. 2017).

Comparison: For a comprehensive comparison of species, especially to the new species Stegonotus ayamaru, see that entry and Kaiser et al. 2019. 
CommentHabitat: forest floor in moderately to heavily disturbed lowland (< 100 m elevation) rainforest 
EtymologyThe species epithet is a noun in apposition and taken from the Latin word for rainbow. It refers to the high level of iridescence shown both dorsally and ventrally by this species. 
References
  • Kaiser, Christine M.; Hinrich Kaiser & Mark O'Shea 2018. The taxonomic history of Indo-Papuan groundsnakes, genus Stegonotus Duméril et al., 1854 (Colubridae), with some taxonomic revisions and the designation of a neotype for S. parvus (Meyer, 1874). Zootaxa 4512 (1): 001–073 - get paper here
  • KAISER, CHRISTINE M.; MARK O’SHEA, HINRICH KAISER 2019. A new species of Indo-Papuan groundsnake, genus Stegonotus Duméril et al., 1854 (Serpentes, Colubridae), from the Bird’s Head Peninsula of West Papua, Indonesia, with comments on differentiating morphological characters. Zootaxa 4590 (2): 201-230 - get paper here
  • Ruane, S., Richards, S. J., McVay, J. D., Tjaturadi, B., Krey, K., & Austin, C. C. 2017. Cryptic and non-cryptic diversity in New Guinea ground snakes of the genus Stegonotus Duméril, Bibron and Duméril, 1854: a description of four new species (Squamata: Colubridae). Journal of Natural History 52: 917-944 - get paper here
 
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