Monday, September 11, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Rhabdops aquaticus • A New Species of Rhabdops Boulenger, 1893 (Serpentes: Natricinae) from the northern Western Ghats Region of India


Rhabdops aquaticus  GiriDeepak, Captain & Gower

in Giri, Deepak, Captain, Das, Das, Rajkumar, Rathish & Gower, 2017 DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4319.1.2

Abstract

Based on analyses of new DNA sequence data for two nuclear (rag1, cmos) and three mitochondrial (16s, cytb, nd4) genes, the Indian snake genus Rhabdops is a natricine. Variation in geography, DNA sequences, the number of ventral scales, pattern and colour for samples of Rhabdops from along the Western Ghats region of peninsular India is concordant, discontinuous and bimodal. We recognise populations from the northern Western Ghats as distinct specifically from the more southerly R. olivaceus and describe Rhabdops aquaticus sp. nov. based on a series of eight specimens from two localities in the Northern Western Ghats. Rhabdops aquaticus sp. nov. is associated particularly with upland laterite plateaus and their associated streams, a threatened habitat within its known distribution.

Keywords: Reptilia, DNA, herpetology, phylogenetics, Rhabdops olivaceus, snakes, taxonomy, Western Ghats

Rhabdops aquaticus sp. nov. showing colouration in life of larger (presumably adult) specimen from Baraki. Specimen not collected. 

Rhabdops aquaticus sp. nov. showing colouration in life of smaller (possibly juvenile) specimen from Amboli. Specimen not collected

Rhabdops aquaticus sp. nov. Giri, Deepak, Captain and Gower 

Rhabdops olivaceus (Beddome, 1863):
Soman (1962: 966, in part), Whitaker & Captain (2004: 264–267, in part), Chikane & Bhosale (2012: 14, in part), Ganesh et al. (2012:45, in part), Srinivasulu et al. (2013, in part), Bhosale & Joshi (2014: 166–168, in part), Srinivasulu et al. (2014: 18, 29, 55–56, in part), Murthy (2016: 100, in part)

FIGURE 6. Rhabdops aquaticus sp. nov. showing colouration in life of: A) larger (presumably adult) specimen from Baraki, and B) smaller (possibly juvenile) specimen from Amboli. Specimens not collected. 


Etymology. The species name is derived from the Latin for relating to water, aquaticus, in reference to observations of this snake often being observed in freshwater bodies. For nomenclatural purposes, the species epithet is considered a noun in apposition.

Suggested common name. Water Rhabdops or Aquatic Rhabdops (English).


Varad B. Giri, V. Deepak, Ashok Captain, Abhijit Das, Sandeep Das, K. P. Rajkumar, R. L. Rathish and David J. Gower. 2017.  A New Species of Rhabdops Boulenger, 1893 (Serpentes: Natricinae) from the northern Western Ghats Region of India.    Zootaxa. 4319(1); 27–52. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4319.1.2


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