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Type: Article
Published: 2019-05-09
Page range: 241–264
Abstract views: 280
PDF downloaded: 130

A new genus and species of natricine snake from northeast India

National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, GKVK, Bellary Road, Bangalore 560065, India Foundation for Biodiversity Conservation, Shubh Kalyan, A1903, Nanded City, Pune, 411041, Maharashtra, India
Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, P.O. 18, Dehradun 248001, India
Department of Zoology, Mizoram University, Aizawl 796004, India
Department of Zoology, Pachunga University College, Aizawl 796001, India
3/1 Boat Club Road, Pune 411001, Maharashtra, India
Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560012, India
Mizoram Natricinae Opisthotropis Rhabdops Smithophis gen. nov. taxonomy Reptilia


Based on the first molecular phylogenetic analyses of samples from northeast India, specimens referred to Rhabdops from this region are more closely related to the southeast and east Asian natricine genera Opisthotropis Günther, 1872 and Sinonatrix Rossman & Eberle, 1977 (as well as to New World and western Palearctic natricines) than to peninsular Indian (true) Rhabdops. Morphologically, these northeast Indian populations differ from other natricines by having a single (‘fused’ or unpaired) internasal shield and a single prefrontal shield. Given the morphological and phylogenetic distinctiveness of these northeast Indian populations, we refer them to a new genus, Smithophis gen. nov., and transfer Rhabdops bicolor (Blyth, 1854) to Smithophis bicolor comb. nov. Based on morphological and molecular variation within our northeast Indian sample, we additionally describe Smithophis atemporalis sp. nov. from the state of Mizoram.


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