Thursday, April 30, 2020

[Herpetology • 2020] Eryx sistanensis • A New Species of Eryx (Serpentes: Erycidae) from Iran

Eryx sistanensis 
Eskandarzadeh, Rastegar-Pouyani, Rastegar-Pouyani, Zargan, Hajinourmohamadi, Nazarov, Sami, Rajabizadeh, Nabizadeh & Navaian, 2020

We describe a new species of the genus Eryx Daudin, 1803 from southern Iran that is morphologically closely related to the Indian sand boa, E. johnii. The new species, Eryx sistanensis sp. nov. has a distribution range from Zabol in the Sistan Region to the southern parts of Sistan & Baluchistan, as well as Hormozgan Province of Iran. Morphologically, E. sistanensis sp. nov. differs from E. johnii by having fewer dorsal scale rows at midbody and the tail tip is not as blunt as E. johnii. The genetic distance (p-distance) between the new species and the Indian sand boa is considerable (9.1% for cytb and 11.8% for COI).

Keywords: Serpentes, Eryx sistanensis sp. nov., molecular phylogeny, morphology, taxonomy

FIGURE 5. Eryx sistanensis sp. nov. specimen from Gurband Village, Minab County in Hormozgan Province.

FIGURE 6. Eryx sistanensis sp. nov. specimens in (A) Rikukash with damaged tail, and (B) Shamil.

Eryx sistanensis sp. nov. 

Etymology: Eryx sistanensis sp. nov. is named after the Sistan Region in Sistan & Baluchistan Province, where the holotype was collected.

FIGURE 2. Photos of the juvenile specimens of (A) Eryx johnii (Photo by Raju Vyas), and (B) Eryx sistanensis sp. nov.

Distribution: Eryx sistanensis sp. nov. is currently known from Zabol in Sistan Region to the southern parts of Sistan & Baluchistan and Hormozgan Provinces (Fig. 7). 

Habitat: The specimens were observed in agricultural fields with soft substrates (Fig. 8). The farms were surrounded by natural vegetation such as Tamarix, Zygophyllum, Acacia and Chenopodiaceae shrubs. 

 Naeimeh Eskandarzadeh, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani, Jamil Zargan, Ashkan Hajinourmohamadi, Roman A. Nazarov, Soheil Sami, Mahdi Rajabizadeh, Hossein Nabizadeh and Majid Navaian. 2020. A New Species of Eryx (Serpentes: Erycidae) from Iran. Zootaxa. 4767(1); 182–192.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4767.1.8