Monday, August 15, 2016

A new snake: Geophis lorancai

Geophis lorancai, credit: Miguel Ángel de la Torre Loranca
Colubrid snakes of the genus Geophis comprise 49 currently recognized species widely distributed in Central and South America. These snakes, often called Latin American earth snakes are burrowing snakes which are seldom encountered and, consequently, have been poorly studied. 

The species was named after Biologist Miguel Ángel de la Torre Loranca, who found most of the specimens of the new species in the Sierra de Zongolica.

For the experts: A new species of the Geophis dubius group is described from the mountains of the Sierra Zongolica in west-central Veracruz and the Sierra de Quimixtlán in central-east Puebla. The new species is most similar to G. duellmani and G. turbidus, which are endemic to the mountains of northern Oaxaca and the Sierra Madre Oriental of Puebla and Hidalgo, respectively. However, the new species differs from G. duellmani by the presence of postocular and supraocular scales and from G. turbidus by having a bicolor dorsum. With the description of the new species, the species number in the genus increases to 50 and to 12 in the G. dubius group. Additionally, a key to the species of the G. dubius group is provided.

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