Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Article
Published: 2018-05-01

A new species of Uropeltis Cuvier, 1829 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the Anaikatty Hills of the Western Ghats of India

Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Anaikatty, Coimbatore 641 108, India
Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
shieldtail snake snake fungal disease systematics taxonomy Uropeltis ellioti Western Ghats Reptilia

Abstract

A new species of Uropeltis is described from a series of six type specimens from the Anaikatty Hills of the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu, peninsular India. Uropeltis bhupathyi sp. nov. is distinguished from congeners by having more than 200 ventral scales, 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody and by the size and shape of the rostral and frontal shields. Although tens of specimens have been seen in the vicinity of the type locality (and previously reported as U. ellioti), the new species is known only from this locality and faces threats from road traffic, habitat loss and change, and possibly a condition that deforms heads and head shields which is at least superficially similar to snake fungal disease reported from wild snakes in North America and Europe.

References

  1. Aengals, R. & Ganesh, S.R. (2013) Rhinophis goweri—a new species of shieldtail snake from the Southern Eastern Ghats, India. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 20 (1), 61–65.

    Arévalo, E., Davis, S.K. & Sites, J.W. (1994) Mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence and phylogenetic relationships among eight chromosome races of the Sceloporous grammicus complex (Phyrynosomatidae) in central Mexico. Systematic Biology, 43, 387–418.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/43.3.387

    Bossuyt, F., Meegaskumbura, M., Beenaerts, N., Gower, D.J., Pethiyagoda, R., Roelants, K., Mannaert, A., Wilkinson, M., Bahir, M.M., Manamendra-Arachchi, K. & Ng, P.K. (2004) Local endemism within the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot. Science, 306 (5695), 479–481.

    Boulenger, G.A. (1893) Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. I. containing the families Typhlopidae, Glauconiidae, Boidae, Ilysiidae, Uropeltidae, Xenopeltidae and Colubridae aglyphae. Part. British Museum (Natural History), London, 448 pp.

    Castresana, J. (2000) Selection of conserved blocks from multiple alignments for their use in phylogenetic analysis. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 17 (4), 540–552.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a026334

    Champion, H.G. & Seth, S.K. (1968) A revised survey of the forest types of India. Government of India Press, Nasik, 404 pp.

    Chettri, B. & Bhupathy, S. (2010) Three little known reptile species from the Araku Valley, Eastern Ghats with notes on their distribution. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 2 (8), 1109–1113.
    https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2329.1109-13

    Constable, J.D. (1949) Reptiles from the Indian Peninsula in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 103, 59–160.

    Cyriac, V.P. & Kodandaramaiah, U. (2017). Paleoclimate determines diversification patterns in the fossorial snake family Uropeltidae Cuvier, 1829. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 116, 97–107.
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2017.08.017

    Dereeper, A., Guignon, V., Blanc, G., Audic, S., Buffet, S., Chevenet, F., Dufayard, J.F., Guindon, S., Lefort, V., Lescot, M. & Claverie, J.M. (2008) Phylogeny.fr: robust phylogenetic analysis for the non-specialist. Nucleic acids research, 36 (Supplement 2), W465–W469.

    Dowling, H.G. (1951) A proposed method of expressing scale reductions in snakes. Copeia, 1951, 131–134.
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1437542

    Franklinos, L.H.V., Lorch, J.M., Bohuski, E., Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez, J., Wright, O.N., Fitzpatrick, L., Petrovan, S., Durrant, C., Linton, C., Baláž, V., Cunningham, A.A. & Lawson, B. (2017) Emerging fungal pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in wild European snakes. Scientific Reports, 7, 3844.
    https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-03352-1

    Ganesh, S.R., Aengals, R. & Ramanujam, E. (2014) Taxonomic reassessment of two Indian shieldtail snakes in the Uropeltis ceylanicus species group (Reptilia: Uropeltidae). Journal of Threatened Taxa, 6 (1), 5305–5314.
    https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o3636.5305-14

    Ganesh, S.R. & Arumugam, M. (2016) Species richness of montane herpetofauna of Southern Eastern Ghats, India: a historical resume and a descriptive checklist. Russian Journal of Herpetology, 23 (1), 7–24.

    Gans C. (1966) List und der rezenten Reptilian und Amphibian. Uropeltidae. Das Tierreich, 84, 1–29.

    Gower, D.J. & Ablett, J.D. (2006) Counting ventral scales in Asian aniloid snakes. Herpetological Journal, 16, 259–263.

    Gower, D.J. & Maduwage, K. (2011) Two new species of Rhinophis Hemprich (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from Sri Lanka. Zootaxa, 2881, 51–68.

    Gower, D.J., Captain, A. & Thakur, S.S. (2008) On the taxonomic status of Uropeltis bicatenata (Günther) (Reptilia: Serpentes: Uropeltidae). Hamadryad, 33, 64–82.

    Guibé, J. (1948) Étude du dimorphisme sexuel chez trois espèces du genre Silybura (Ophidien). Bulletin de la Societé zoologique de France, 73, 91–94.

    Guindon, S., Dufayard, J.F., Lefort, V., Anisimova, M., Hordijk, W. & Gascuel, O. (2010) New algorithms and methods to estimate maximum-likelihood phylogenies: assessing the performance of PhyML 3.0. Systematic Biology, 59 (3), 307–321.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/sysbio/syq010

    Günther, A. (1862) On new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 3, 9, 52–59.

    Kannan, P. & Bhupathy, S. (1997) Occurrence of the Elliot’s shieldtail snake Uropeltis ellioti in Anaikatty Hills, Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Cobra, 28, 34–35.

    Lanfear, R., Frandsen, P.B., Wright, A.M., Senfeld, T. & Calcott, B. (2016) PartitionFinder 2: new methods for selecting partitioned models of evolution for molecular and morphological phylogenetic analyses. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 34 (3), 772–773.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msw260

    Lorch, J.M, Knowles, S., Lankton, J.S., Michell, K., Edward, J.L., Kapfer, J.M., Staffen, R.A., Wild, E.R., Schmidt, K.Z., Ballman, A.E., Blodgett, D., Farrell, T.M., Glorioso, B.M., Last, L.A., Price, S.J., Schuler, K.L., Smith, C.E., Wellehan, J.F.X. & Blehert, D.S. (2016) Snake fungal disease: an emerging threat to wild snakes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B, 371, 20150457.
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0457

    Manamendra-Arachchi, K., Batuwita, S. & Pethiyagoda, R. (2007) A taxonomic revision of the Sri Lankan day-geckos (Reptilia: Gekkonidae: Cnemaspis), with description of new species from Sri Lanka and southern India. Zeylanica, 7 (1), 9–122.

    McDiarmid, R., Campbell, J.A. & Touré, T. (1999) Snake Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Vol. 1. The Herpetologists’ League, Washington, 511 pp.

    Mukherjee, D. & Bhupathy, S. (2004) Uropeltis ellioti in the diet of Naja naja. Hamadryad, 28, 109–110.

    Mukherjee, D. (2007) Resource utilization patterns of reptiles in the tropical dry mixed deciduous forest of Anaikatty Hills, Western Ghats, India. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, 151 pp.

    Palumbi, S., Martin, A., Romano, S. McMillan, W.O., Stice, L. & Grabowski, G. (1991) The simple fool’s guide to PCR. Version 2.0. Special Publication of the Department of Zoology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, 47 pp.

    Pyron, R.A., Ganesh, S.R., Sayyed, A., Sharma, V., Wallach, V. & Somaweera, R. (2016) A catalogue and systematic overview of the shield-tailed snakes (Serpentes: Uropeltidae). Zoosystema, 38, 453–506.
    https://doi.org/10.5252/z2016n4a2

    R Core Team (2016) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. Available from: http://www.R-project.org/ (accessed 28 February 2018)

    Rajendran, M.V. (1985) Studies in uropeltid snakes. Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, 132 pp.

    Rambaut, A., Suchard, M., Xie, W. & Drummond, A. (2014) Tracer v. 1.6. Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh. [software]

    Ronquist, F., Teslenko, M., Van Der Mark, P., Ayres, D.L., Darling, A., Höhna, S., Larget, B., Liu, L., Suchard, M.A. & Huelsenbeck, J.P. (2012) MrBayes 3.2: efficient Bayesian phylogenetic inference and model choice across a large model space. Systematic Biology, 61 (3), 539–542.

    Smith, M.A. (1943) The fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, including the whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. 3. Serpentes. Taylor and Francis, London, 583 pp.

    Stamatakis, A. (2006) RAxML-VI-HPC: maximum likelihood-based phylogenetic analyses with thousands of taxa and mixed models. Bioinformatics, 22 (21), 2688–2690.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btl446

    Tamura, K., Stecher, G., Peterson, D., Filipski, A. & Kumar, S. (2013) MEGA6: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis version 6.0. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30 (12), 2725–2729.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/mst197

    Thompson, J.D., Higgins, D.G. & Gibson, T.J. (1994) CLUSTAL W: improving the sensitivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, position-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice. Nucleic Acids Research, 22 (22), 4673–4680.
    https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/22.22.4673

    Wall, F. (1919) Notes on a collection of snakes made in the Nilgiri hills and adjacent Wynaad. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 26, 552–584.

    Wall, F. (1921) Ophidia Taprobanica or the snakes of Ceylon. H. R. Cottle, Colombo, 582 pp.

How to Cite

JINS, V., SAMPAIO, F. L., & GOWER, D. J. (2018). A new species of <em>Uropeltis</em> Cuvier, 1829 (Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the Anaikatty Hills of the Western Ghats of India. Zootaxa, 4415(3), 401–422. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4415.3.1