Monday, November 13, 2017

[Herpetology • 2017] Aspidura ravanai • A New Species of Aspidura Wagler, 1830 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Sri Pada Sanctuary (Peak Wilderness), Sri Lanka

 Aspidura ravanai
Wickramasinghe, Vidanapathirana, Kandambi, Pyron & Wickramasinghe, 2017

Ravana’s Rough-side Snake ||  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.4 


We describe a new speciesAspidura ravanai sp. nov., representing the eighth species of the genus known from Sri Lanka. The new species is readily distinguished from all other congeners by its colour pattern, scalation, and genetic distinctiveness. Our molecular results indicated that Aspidura began diversifying in the Miocene approximately 18 Ma, and A. ravanai sp. nov. diverged from its likely sister lineage A. trachyprocta at least 6.2 Ma. The species is currently known only from the type locality, on the western slopes of Sri Pada Peak in the central highlands of Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Reptilia, Aspidura trachyprocta, divergence dating, Ravana, rough-side snakes, new taxa, Sabaragamuwa province, South Asia, systematics

 Female paratype of Aspidura ravanai sp. nov. (DWC 2017.05.01).

Male paratype of Aspidura ravanai sp. nov. (DWC 2017.05.02).

Aspidura ravanai sp. nov.
Aspidura sp. Pyron et al. 2013

Etymology. The specific epithet ravanai is formed after Emperor Ravana, one of the greatest Emperors of all times, who is believed to have lived nearly 5000 years ago in Sri Lanka, and was said to have had immense intelligence and power. The name ravanai is a noun in the genitive case.

Suggested common names. Ravanage madilla, and Ravana’s Rough-side Snake in native Sinhala and English respectively.

Natural History. Seventeen specimens of Aspidura ravanai have been found in montane cloud forests between 1,650–2,000 m elevation. Mostly found in shady areas with dense leaf litter, hidden under loose soil or logs, and can be found up to about 30 cm below ground level.

  L. J. Mendis Wickramasinghe, Dulan Ranga Vidanapathirana, H. K. Dushantha Kandambi, R. Alexander Pyron and Nethu Wickramasinghe. 2017. A New Species of Aspidura Wagler, 1830 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Sri Pada Sanctuary (Peak Wilderness), Sri Lanka. Zootaxa. 4347(2); 275–292.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4347.2.4


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