Tuesday, October 17, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Hypogeophis pti • A New Species of Small and Highly Abbreviated Caecilian (Gymnophiona: Indotyphlidae) from the Seychelles Island of Praslin, and A Recharacterization of Hypogeophis brevis


 Hypogeophis pti 
Maddock, Wilkinson, Nussbaum & Gower, 2017


Abstract

A new species of indotyphlid caecilian amphibian, Hypogeophis pti sp. nov., is described based on a series of specimens from the Seychelles island of Praslin. The type series was collected in 2013 and 2014, and a referred specimen previously identified as H. brevis Boulenger, 1911 was collected from an unspecified Seychelles locality in 1957. The new species most closely resembles the Seychelles endemic Hypogeophis brevis in being short (maximum known total length in life ca. 120 mm) and long snouted, but differs by having a less anteriorly positioned tentacular aperture and fewer primary annuli and vertebrae. In having only 67–69 vertebrae, H. pti sp. nov. is the most abbreviated extant species of caecilian reported to date.

Keywords:  Amphibia, herpetology, Indian Ocean, taxonomy, Vallée de Mai


FIGURE 5. Hypogeophis brevis, specimens in life collected in 2014 on Mahé from two localities: (a) Casse Dents, specimen BMNH 2005.1984, 1985 or 1986, (b) Brûlée, BMNH 2005.1793.
FIGURE 11. Hypogeophis pti sp. nov., paratype specimens in life collected from Fond Peper, Praslin, 2014. (a) BMNH 2005.1830 or 1832; (b) BMNH 2005.1833.




Hypogeophis pti sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet is in reference to the very small size of the species, one of the smallest of known caecilians. ‘Pti’ is a typical spelling in Seychellois Creole of the French petit/petite (small, in English). For nomenclatural purposes the specific epithet is considered to be a noun in apposition. 

Suggested ‘common’ name. Petite Praslin caecilian.


Simon T. Maddock, Mark Wilkinson, Ronald A. Nussbaum and David J. Gower. 2017. A New Species of Small and Highly Abbreviated Caecilian (Gymnophiona: Indotyphlidae) from the Seychelles Island of Praslin, and A Recharacterization of Hypogeophis brevis Boulenger, 1911Zootaxa. 4329(4); 301–326.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4329.4.1

   

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