Tuesday, January 9, 2018

[Herpetology • 2017] Ninia teresitae • A New Species of Ninia (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from Chocó-Magdalena Biogeographical Province, western Colombia

Ninia teresitae
Angarita-Sierra & Lynch, 2017


We describe a new species of the genus Ninia from the Chocó-Magdalena biogeographic province, which was previously reported as a distinct population of N. maculata or as N. atrata from the western slopes of the Cordillera Occidental of Colombia. The new species is similar to N. atrata, N. celata, N. espinali, N. franciscoi, and N. maculata. It shares the following characteristics with the species mentioned above: 19 dorsal scale rows without reductions; dorsal ground color black or dark brown; white or cream occipital nuchal collar. However, it is easily distinguished from all other congeners because it has a non-regular color pattern in the ventral surfaces of the head and body, subcaudal surface homogeneously black or dark brown, two nasal scales, and one lateral projection ornamented with a large basal hook-shaped spine that is larger than any other spine on the hemipenial body. The presence of a lateral projection on the hemipenial body makes the new species the only member of the genus from South America that shares this feature with its Central American congeners. This feature suggests a closer relationship with this linage. Finally, our results indicate that proper and careful revision of the Ninia atrata species complex will help to understand and clarify the taxonomic composition of the genus.

Keywords: Reptilia, External morphology, Biogeography of the Colombian Pacific lowlands, Hemipenis, Ninia atrata, Ninia maculata, taxonomy

Ninia teresitae sp. nov. 

FIGURE 2. General view of the holotype (ICN 12527) of Ninia teresitae sp. nov., in life (A), dorsal (B) and ventral (C) views after its preservation.

Etymology. The specific epithet teresitae represent the Latin translation of the nickname from the Spanish “Teresita” and is given in honor to the grandmother of the first author, Maria Teresa Guerrero (1915−2013). “Teresita” was one of the most influential persons in her grandson’s life, who never failed to support him and encouraged his endless passion for snakes.

Teddy Angarita-Sierra and John D. Lynch. 2017. A New Species of Ninia (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from Chocó-Magdalena Biogeographical Province, western Colombia. Zootaxa. 4244(4); 478–492.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4244.4.2

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