FIGURE 2. Lateral views of the head of Atheris mabuensis n. sp. (Holotype PEM R17901, Mount Mabu) before fixation. Note: swollen gold keel tips on the head and body scales.
Atheris mabuensis | Mount Mabu forest viper
endemic to Mozambique
A new species of forest viper (Atheris Serpentes: Viperidae) is described from Mount Mabu and Mount Namuli, northern Mozambique. This is the most southerly record of the genus, and the first record from Mozambique. Features of scalation, colour, body form and behaviour distinguish the new species from all other African Atheris, particularly its small size (maximum total length 384mm), retention of juvenile colouration in adults, and relatively low ventral, subcaudal and labial scale counts. It appears to be a dwarf, possibly paedomorphic, species that feeds among leaf litter on small frogs and geckos. The discovery of the new species in isolated populations in mid-altitude forest remnants on Mount Mabu and Mount Namuli, emphasizes the high conservation importance of the region.
Keywords: Viperidae, Atheris, new species, Mount Mabu, Mount Namuli, Mozambique
FIGURE 4. Atheris mabuensis n. sp. (Holotype PEM R17901, Mount Mabu) in life showing habitus and general colouraion. Note: Retention of yellow tail tip in adult.
FIGURE 1. Map of Central Mozambique with the location of montane isolates (Mount Chiperone, Mount Mabu and Mount Namuli) in relation to Mount Mulanje and the Malawi Hills in southern Malawi.
Branch ,W.R., & Bayliss, J. 2009. A new species of Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae) from northern Mozambique. Zootaxa. 2113: 41–54.