Atheris mabuensis Branch & Bayliss, 2009
- GBIF Backbone Taxonomy
- Published in
- Branch, William R., Bayliss, Julian (2009): A new species of Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae) from northern Mozambique. Zootaxa 2113: 41-54, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.274877
- Atheris mabuensis
Diagnosis: Atheris mabuensis is distinguished from all other members of the genus by a combination of characters: (1) its small size, maximum length 384 mm (all other Atheris exceed 580 mm TL, with the exception of - A. katangensis, TL 397 mm; A. barbouri, TL 369 mm (Barbour and Howell, 1998); and the unique type of A. acuminata, TL 440 mm); (2) the lack of ‘ horns’ (enlarged supraocular scales are present in A ceratophora); (3) the lack of lanceolate or acuminate scales on top of the head (present in A. hispida and A. acuminata); (4) having weakly keeled gular scales (smooth only in A. nitschei; gulars moderately keeled in the eastern species, A. rungweensis, A. desaixi, A. ceratophora and A. katangensis, and strongly keeled in the remaining central and western species); (5) lacking interoculabials (sensu Broadley, 1998, i. e. the supralabials are in contact with circumorbitals; 1 or 2 in A. desaixi and A. rungweensis); (6) having 19 – 21 transverse head scales (sensu Broadley, 1998, i. e. number of scales across head between posterior supralabials; these are reduced in highly arboreal species, e. g. A. squamigera, 15 – 22, A. hispida, 12; and A. acuminata, 10); (7) having 21 – 23 MSR (most species have 27 + MSR rows; reduced in highly arboreal species such as A. squamigera, 15 – 25, A. hispida, 15 – 19, and A. acuminata, 14); (8) lateral body scales not serrated (strongly serrated in A. ceratophora, A. desaixi, A. nitschei, and A. rungweensis, and weakly serrated in A. katangensis); (9) having 8 – 9 supralabials (six in A. acuminata, 10 – 12 in A. desaixi); (10) having low ventral counts 128 – 137 (this is the lowest in the genus; usually over 140 in both sexes in A. nitschei, A. rungweensis, A. desaixi, A. chlorechis, A. hispida, and A. subocularis, and in the only known males of A. acuminata (160) and A. hirsuta (160); (11) having low subcaudal counts - 39 – 47 (always higher than 45 in A. rungweensis, A. ceratophora, A. chlorechis, A. squamigera and A. hispida; and 54 and 58 in the only known males of A. acuminata and A. hirsuta, respectively); and (12) having a prehensile tail (non-prehensile in A. barbouri), and higher subcaudal (A. barbouri 15 – 21) and labial (A. barbouri, supralabials 5 – 6, infralabials 4 – 5) counts.
Etymology: Named after the type locality, Mount Mabu, Zambezia Province, northern Mozambique. Suggested common name: Mount Mabu Forest Viper
Type Material: Holotype: adult male, PEM R 17901. Type locality: main forest camp, Mount Mabu (16 ° 17 ’ 12 ” S, 36 ° 24 ’ 14 ” E, 1000 m a. s. l.); collected by local hunter, 20 October 2008; fixed in buffered formalin and stored in 70 % EtOH. Paratypes: 3 specimens: adult female, PEM R 17902, collected by Tom Timberlake, same locality and date as holotype; juvenile, PEM R 17903, collected by Julian Bayliss, same locality and date as holotype; subadult male, PEM R 19704, collected on path at 13 h 00 in leaf litter in Khara Forest (lower end on Manho Forest, Mount Namuli, Zambezia Province, Mozambique (15 ° 24 ’ 39.9 ” S, 37 ° 02 ’ 16.5 ” E, 1550 m a. s. l.), Colin Congdon, 26 November 2008. The two Mount Mabu specimens were retained for one month in captivity before dying; on death they were placed in 90 % EtOH, after small incisions were made in the ventrum; both were subsequently transferred to 70 % EtOH for storage. The Mount Namuli specimen was kept alive for 2 months, and then euthanased, fixed in buffered formalin and subsequently stored in 70 % EtOH; a small ventral incision was made to collected fresh liver tissue for genetic studies. Additional Material: PEM R 17910 (still maintained in captivity; shed skins and digital images), adult male, same locality as holotype, collected 25 January 2006, J. Bayliss.
- Branch WR, Bayliss J. (2009) A new species of Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae) from northern Mozambique.: Zootaxa 2113: 41-54
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