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Xylophis mosaicus DEEPAK, NARAYANAN, DAS, RAJKUMAR, EASA, SREEJITH & GOWER, 2020

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Higher TaxaPareidae (Xylophiinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Anamalai wood snake
Tamil: Anamalai mannooli vannan pambu
Malayalam: Pul mannooli pambu 
SynonymXylophis mosaicus DEEPAK, NARAYANAN, DAS, RAJKUMAR, EASA, SREEJITH & GOWER 2020 
DistributionIndia (Kerala), elevations above 1,500 m

Type locality: close to Eravikulam hut in Eravikulam National Park, Kerala, India (10.274357°N, 77.085782°E, 2,400 m elevation  
Reproductionoviparous, 1 female laid 7 eggs (Deepak et al. 2020) 
TypesHolotype: BNHS 3577, female, (Figs. 3 & 4), collected by Sandeep Das on 3rd December 2015. See map in Fig. 2 in Deepak et al. 2020.
Paratypes (n = 4). BNHS 3579, female, collection details as for holotype; BNHS 3580, female and BNHS 3578, male, collected by Sandeep Das from Eravikulam National Park (10.204640°N, 77.083096°E, 2221m elevation) and (10.196156° N, 77.067111° E, 2230 m elevation) respectively on 28th April 2017 (Fig. 7A–L). BMNH 88.1.27.42 (Fig. 7M–P ), male, collected by W. Davison prior to 1889 from Anamalai Hills, ‘4,700 ft’ (= 1433 m). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Xylophis mosaicus sp. nov. is distinguished from X. stenorhynchus (and its putative synonym X. indicus) and X. captaini in having 13 instead of 15 dorsal scale rows at midbody, in having relatively long prefrontals and short, rectangular internasals versus relatively short prefrontals and broad, squarish internasals, and in lacking a pale (off-white) collar behind the head. The new species differs from X. perroteti (and its synonym X. microcephalum) in having the posterior pair of genial scales in midline contact (versus posterior pair of genial scales separated along the midline by the first ventral scale) (Figs. 5A,B, 6F in Deepak et al. 2020). 
CommentHabitat: grasslands except for one specimen that was found under a rotten log along with a Uropeltis sp. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet mosaicus is in reference to both the mosaic-like nature of the colour pattern of the new species, and the mosaic-like nature of the high elevation shola forest patches (within a grassland matrix) in which it is found. For nomenclatural purposes, the species epithet is considered a noun in apposition. 
References
  • DEEPAK, V.; SURYA NARAYANAN, SANDEEP DAS, K.P. RAJKUMAR, P.S. EASA, K.A. SREEJITH, DAVID J. GOWER 2020. Description of a new species of Xylophis Beddome, 1878 (Serpentes: Pareidae: Xylophiinae) from the Western Ghats, India. Zootaxa 4755 (2): 231–250 - get paper here
 
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