|Tropidophis leonae |
A new species of Tropidophis is described from the dry forest of the Barahona Peninsula, southwestern Dominican Republic, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. There, the new species is parapatric with T. haetianus, the only previously known Tropidophis on Hispaniola, but exhibits striking differences in scalation (much higher number of ventral scales), in other structural morphological traits (head and body proportions), and in dorsal and ventral coloration and pattern (e.g., fewer spot rows, and a patternless head and venter, etc.). The locality of this new species lies within an area where other vertebrate species have been recently discovered, underscoring the growing appreciation of the Barahona Peninsula as a diversity hotspot. Yet, this region also remains poorly studied and it is also highly imperiled due to ongoing anthropogenic change, justifying more conservation efforts.
Keywords: Caribbean Islands; dwarf boas; Barahona Entrapment.
Tropidophis leonae sp. nov.
Jaragua Golden Trope
Diagnosis. A medium-sized (SVL 362–389 mm) species of Tropidophis of slender habitus (body somewhat laterally compressed), a distinctive neck and long snout, small eyes, high ventral scale count, a pale dorsal coloration of yellow-tan to light tan-brown with a dorsal pattern of only four brown spot rows, the middorsal blotches at times in contact or fused, and the lateral spot row much smaller and fainter; a pale yellow venter, and lacking a ventral and head pattern.
Etymology. The epithet honors Dominican biologist and friend Yolanda (a.k.a “Yoli”) M. León, a tireless advocate of conservation efforts in the Dominican Republic and whose support also contributed to this work.
| Dorsal view of the full body of Tropidophis leonae sp. nov.|
A) Holotype; B) typical substrate at the habitat floor in the type locality. The matching pattern provides good camouflage.
Miguel A. Landestoy T. 2023. A Remarkable New Snake of the Genus Tropidophis (Squamata: Tropidophiidae) from southern Hispaniola [Una notable nueva serpiente del género Tropidophis (Squamata: Tropidophiidae) del sur de la Hispaniola]. Novitates Caribaea. (21), 1–17. DOI: 10.33800/nc.vi21.323