A new species of xenodermatid snake, Achalinus yunkaiensis J. Wang, Y. Li & Y.Y. Wang, sp. nov. was described based on a series of specimens collected from Dawuling Forestry Station located in the Yunkai Mountains of western Guangdong Province. It can be distinguished from known congeners by a significant genetic divergence at the mitochondrial CO1 gene fragment examined (p-distance ≥ 12.0%) and the following combination of characters: (1) dorsal scales strongly keeled, in 23 rows throughout the body, the most outer row on each side smooth and significantly enlarged; (2) tail relatively shorter, TaL/TL ratio 18.5–20.0%; (3) maxillary teeth 20–22; (4) length of suture between internasals subequal to that between the prefrontals; (5) nasal divided into two sections by nasal cleft, posterior one half as long as anterior; (6) loreal elongated, nearly twice as wide as high; (7) supralabials six; (8) infralabials six; (9) temporals 2+2+3 (rarely 2+2+4), the two anterior temporals in contact with eye; (10) ventrals 151–162, subcaudals 49–56 arranged in single row, not paired; (11) cloacal entire; (12) uniform brown (in adults) or black (in juveniles) above, tinged weakly iridescent, with a longitudinal dark-colored vertebral line; (13) light brown (in adults) or greyish white (in juveniles) beneath; and (14) dorsum with a longitudinal dark brown vertebral stripe from posterior margin of parietals to tail tip. Currently, 13 species are known in the genus Achalinus, with seven from mainland China.
Bibliographical noteWe thank Can-Rong Lin from Guangdong Lingnan Vocational and Technical College, Chun-Peng Guo from Cheng-du Institute of Biology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hai-Long He, Run-Lin Li, Hong-Hui Chen and Zu-Yao Liu from the Museum of Biology, Sun Yat-sen University, for their help in the fieldwork. This work was supported by the Scientific Expedition of Biological Resources of Yunkai Mountains in Guangdong Province (grant no. 2018B030320001) to Wen-Bo Liao and the Specimen Platform of Ministry of Science and Technology, P.R. China, teaching specimens sub-platform (grant no. 2005DKA21403JK) to Ying-Yong Wang.
- Achalinus yunkaiensis sp. nov
- Molecular analyses