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Published: 2021-03-31

Two new species and a new country record of the genus Achalinus (Reptilia: Squamata: Xenodermidae) from China

State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution State, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China Kunming College of Life Science, University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650204, China
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution State, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History & Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73072, USA
Faculty of Agriculture, Forest and Food Engineering, Yibin University, Yibin 644007, China
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution State, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China College of Life Sciences, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, Anhui, 241000, China
Key Laboratory for Conserving Wildlife with Small Populations in Yunnan, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, Yunnan, China.
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution State, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China
Reptilia cryptic diversity fossorial morphology phylogenetics Serpentes taxonomy


Combining the results from morphological and molecular analyses, we explore the taxonomy of the genus Achalinus from Southwest China. As a result, we describe two new species, A. panzhihuaensis sp. nov. and A. yangdatongi sp. nov. from southern Sichuan and southern Yunnan provinces, respectively, and we record a new country record, A. emilyae, from Guangxi Zhuang A. R.. The mitochondrial genealogy suggests that A. panzhihuaensis sp. nov. is sister to A. meiguensis, while A. yangdatongi sp. nov. clusters with the sister species A. juliani and A. ater. Both new species show considerable genetic divergence from their recognized congeners (uncorrected p-distance > 6.2 % in COI gene). Furthermore, both new species can be diagnosed from closely related congeners by a combination of pholidosis characters. With our discovery, we provide a revised key to the 13 species from China and discuss some of the remaining issues regarding the taxonomy of the genus in China.



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