Wednesday, May 10, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Rhinophis roshanpererai • A New Species of Rhinophis Hemprich, 1820 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the central hills of Sri Lanka

Rhinophis roshanpererai  
Wickramasinghe, Vidanapathirana,  Rajeev & Gower, 2017

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A new species of uropeltid snake, Rhinophis roshanpererai sp. nov., is described based on three specimens from Badulla District, Sri Lanka. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by the number of dorsal scale rows and ventral scales, a colour pattern that lacks pale stripes, and by having a very small tail shield with four or three prominent spines. Based on lack of records from similar habitats and elevations elsewhere in Sri Lanka, the new species likely has a very small range in the central highlands. The description of the new species brings the total nominal species of Rhinophis to 20, with four of the 16 Sri Lankan species having been described since 2009.

Keywords: Rhinophis roshanpererai sp. nov., shieldtail, taxonomy, uropeltid snakes, Reptilia, Sri Lanka

FIGURE 2. Dorsolateral view in life of the holotype of Rhinophis roshanpererai sp. nov., NMSL 2016.08.01 NH, 214 mm (total length). 

Diagnosis. A Rhinophis restricted to the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka with 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody, more than 160 and fewer than 175 ventral scales, a small tail shield with spines, three or four of which prominent, and lacking yellowish markings laterally or dorsally

Etymology. The species epithet roshanpererai is named for the late Roshan Perera, who was an Instructor of the Reptiles group of the Young Zoologist’s Association of Sri Lanka, Department of National Zoological Gardens, in recognition of his dedicated services to wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka. The species name roshanpererai is a noun in the genitive case. 

Suggested vernacular names. Roshan Pererage thudulla, Roshan Pereravin nilakael pambu, Roshan Perera’s sheildtail (or Roshan Perera’s Rhinophis) in Sinhala, Tamil, and English, respectively

 L. J. Mendis Wickramasinghe, Dulan R. Vidanapathirana, M. D. G. Rajeev and David J. Gower. 2017. A New Species of Rhinophis Hemprich, 1820 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the central hills of Sri Lanka. Zootaxa. 4263(1); 153–164.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4263.1.7


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