Alai! Alai! – a new species of the Gloydius halys (Pallas, 1776) complex (Viperidae, Crotalinae), including a brief review of the complex

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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During a scientific field expedition to the Alai-Pamir range five specimens of the genus Gloydius have been collected in the larger Alai. A morphological and genetical examination of the specimens has shown that they are part of the G. halys complex, but represent a new taxon which is characterized by the following unique character combination: It is a slender and moderately stout small snake, up to 479 mm total length. The head has nine symmetrical plates on the upper head, 7 supralabial and 8-9 infralabial scales. Body scales in 20-22 rows around midbody, 143-156 ventral and 35-45 usually paired subcaudal scales. The cloacal plate not divided. The general coloration consists of various different tones of olive, tan and brown, having a distinct head, but an indistinct body pattern with, excluding the tail, 26-29 transverse crossbands, which are not extending to the sides of the body. The haplotype network shows the new species within the G. halys complex and close related to both, G. h. halys and G. h. caraganus. So far the new described species is only known from the Alai range. However, various Gloydius specimens are found in Kyrgyzstan and because of the complicated taxonomy those specimens have to re-identified to clarify their status and the status of the new species.

Alai! Alai! – a new species of the Gloydius halys (Pallas, 1776) complex (Viperidae, Crotalinae), including a brief review of the complex

in Amphibia-Reptilia

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Figures

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    Haplotype network of selected members of Gloydius halys/intermedius complex based on ND4 sequences. Numbers below “l” corresponds to the number of mutated positions (“l” without number corresponds to single mutation).

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    Holotype (ZMB 80360) of Gloydius rickmersi sp. n. from Sary-Buka Valley, Kyrgyz Republic. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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    Detailed pholidosis of the holotype (ZMB 80360) of Gloydius rickmersi sp. n. from Sary-Buka Valley, Kyrgyz Republic.

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    Digital X-ray image (left: dorsal; right: lateral view) of the holotype of Gloydius rickmersi sp. n. (ZMB 80360), compared with figures modified from Gloyd and Conant (1990). For further details see Material and methods.

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    Distribution of Gloydius rickmersi sp. n. in the Kyrgyz Republic. 1: Kul-Otek at the Sary-Buka Valley about 25 km (by air) NE of Daroot-Korgon (Chong-Alai District) near the town Kyzyl-Eshme in direction to the Shuman-Bol pass and the Kichi-Alai River. 2: Northern slope of the Alai range, Tengizbai River, Kichelay, 2798 m.

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    Habitat of Gloydius rickmersi sp. n. at the type locality in the Sary-Buka Valley. This figure is published in colour in the online version.

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