Tuesday, April 5, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Bothrops sazimai • Another New and Threatened Species of Lancehead Genus Bothrops (Serpentes, Viperidae) from Ilha dos Franceses, Southeastern Brazil

Franceses Island Lancehead | Bothrops sazimai 
Barbo, Gasparini, Almeida, Zaher, Grazziotin, Gusmão, Ferrarini & Sawaya, 2016 DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4097.4.4


A new insular species of the genus Bothrops is described from Ilha dos Franceses, a small island off the coast of Espírito Santo State, in southeastern Brazil. The new species differs from mainland populations of B. jararaca mainly by its small size, relative longer tail, relative smaller head length, and relative larger eyes. The new species is distinguished from B. alcatraz, B. insularis and B. otavioi by the higher number of ventral and subcaudal scales, relative longer tail and smaller head. The new species is highly abundant on the island, being nocturnal, semiarboreal, and feeding on small lizards and centipeds. Due its unique and restricted area of occurrence, declining quality of habitat, and constant use of the island for tourism, the new species may be considered as critically endangered.

Keywords: Reptilia, Atlantic Forest, Bothrops, Conservation, Island rule, Heterochrony, taxonomy

Diagnosis. Bothrops  sazimai  is  distinguished  from  other  species  of  B.  jararaca  group  by  the  following  combination of characters: (1) larger eyes; (2) shorter and higher head; (3) slender body; (4) relative longer tail; (5) dorsum predominantly grayish and/or brownish; (6) venter creamish white, speckled in gray; (7) postorbital stripes with  the  same  color  of  lateral  saddles;  (8)  usually  two  postoculars;  (9)  22–25  interictals;  (10)  20–24  anterior  dorsals; (11) 20–23 midbody dorsals; (12) 198–214 ventrals in females, 193–206 in males; (13) 54–65 subcaudals in females, 62–70 in males. 

Distribution. The new species is known only from the type-locality, Ilha dos Franceses, (Fig. 6). This island has about 15 ha with maximum elevation of 36 m asl covered by secondary Atlantic forest remnants (Ferreira et al. 2007), and located 3.6 Km eastwards from Itaoca beach (Fig. 7). 

Etymology. The specific epithet sazimai represents a patronymic name dedicated to the friend and professor Ivan Sazima, for his invaluable contribution to the study of natural history and conservation of Brazilian fauna, and for his inspiring and pioneering field studies on Bothrops jararaca. Professor Ivan advised and mentored various generations of students and researchers that presently work with diverse systems and organisms, including snakes, amphibians, fishes, mammals, birds, and plants. He published hundreds of scientific contributions, among articles, book chapters, and educational texts. We suggest the standard English name “Franceses Island Lancehead” for the new species. 

FIGURE 4. Active specimens of Bothrops sazimai at night in different macrohabitats on the island.
Over fallen trunks and twigs (A); coiled over trees (B) (MZUSP 22230); two individuals close to one another and moving on the ground (C); on the rocks near the sea (D); coiled on the ground (MZUSP 22232) (E).
Photographs by R. Sawaya (A, E), R. Zorzal (B), F. Barbo (C), and T. Portillo (D).

 Fausto E. Barbo, João Luiz Gasparini, Antonio P. Almeida, Hussam Zaher, Felipe G. Grazziotin, Rodrigo B. Gusmão, José Mário G. Ferrarini and Ricardo J. Sawaya. 2016. Another New and Threatened Species of Lancehead genus Bothrops (Serpentes, Viperidae) from Ilha dos Franceses, Southeastern Brazil.  Zootaxa. 4097(4); 511-529.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4097.4.4