Sunday, February 20, 2022

[Herpetology • 2022] Rena klauberi • A New Species of Blindsnake (Squamata: Leptotyphlopidae) from Jalisco, Mexico

Rena klauberi
Flores-Villela, Smith, Canseco-Márquez & Campbell, 2022

 DOI: 10.22201/ib.20078706e.2022.93.3933 

 A new snake species of the genus Rena is described from northern Jalisco, Mexico. The new species represents an isolated member of the R. dulcis group in the extreme southwest Mesa Central of the country. We redefine the R. dulcis and R. humilis groups within the genus Rena. The status of the other species allocated to these groups is discussed. 

Keywords: Blind snakes; Taxonomy; Nomenclature; Squamata; Serpentes 

Drawing of dorsal (top) and lateral (bottom) views of head of holotype of Rena klauberi MZFC-17047.

Rena klauberi new species.

Diagnosis. A species of the R. dulcis group that differs from R. maxima, in having 10 rows of scales around the tail (vs. 12); from R. bressoni, R. myopica, and R. dissecta in having an undivided anterior supralabial (vs. divided); from R. dulcis in having nine scales on the dorsal surface with dark pigment (vs. seven); from R. humilis in having supraoculars (vs. absent); and by having 10 rows of scales around the tail (12 in R. humilis group members, except for R. h. segrega and R. h. tenuicula that have 10). Rena klauberi differs from all other Mexican Rena, except the holotype of R. d. iversoni, in having a darkly pigmented cloacal plate, while the remainder of the venter is immaculate.

Distribution. Rena klauberi is known only from the type-locality (Fig. 4) in dry scrub forest. The holotype was found crawling just after sunset on a dirt path near the outer periphery of a riparian zone consisting of grasses, sedges, and scattered oak trees (Fig. 5). It is likely that this species may also occur in nearby southern Zacatecas, which possesses similar habitat. Several reptile species, apparently endemic to the area, have been reported for both southern Zacatecas and northern Jalisco (Ponce-Campos et al., 2001). 

Etymology. This species is named in honor of the late Laurence Monroe Klauber, in recognition of his valuable contributions to North American herpetology, and especially to our knowledge of the genus Leptotyphlops (= Rena) from North America. 

Oscar A. Flores-Villela, Eric N. Smith, Luis Canseco-Márquez and Jonathan A. Campbell. 2022. A New Species of Blindsnake from Jalisco, Mexico (Squamata: Leptotyphlopidae) [Una especie nueva de serpiente agujilla de Jalisco, México (Squamata: Leptotyphlopidae)] Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad. 93: e933933.

Resumen: Una especie nueva de serpiente perteneciente al género Rena se describe del norte de Jalisco, México. La nueva especie representa un miembro aislado del grupo de R. dulcis, en el extremo suroeste de la Mesa Central del país. Redefinimos los grupos R. dulcis y R. humilis dentro del género Rena. Se discute el status de otras especies dentro de estos grupos. 
Palabras clave: Agujillas; Taxonomía; Nomenclatura; Squamata; Serpientes