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A new species of Tantilla is described from the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado (RVSBCS), on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Assigned to the Tantilla taeniata group, this species differs from others in this group in color pattern, numbers of scales, measurements, and habitat. An incomplete pale nuchal collar and a pale mediodorsal stripe extending to the proximal edge of the paravertebral rows on the anterior third of the body are present. The lateral extension of the head cap does not completely separate the postocular pale spot from the pale nuchal collar. A pale lateral stripe is present on the adjacent halves of dorsal scale rows 3 and 4. The ventrolateral ground color is much darker than that of the dorsolateral ground color. The ventral + subcaudal number of 244 is the highest figure for the males of species in the group. The RVSBCS is an important coastal protected area in Mesoamerica, due to its significant coastal diversity, including iconic species, in addition to harboring this centipede snake.
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Amphib. Reptile Conserv. September 2020 | Volume 14 | Number 3 | e258
Amphibian & Reptile Conservation
14(3) [Taxonomy Section]: 86–102 (e258).
A new species of Tantilla of the taeniata group (Squamata:
Colubridae) from Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y
Salado in Caribbean coastal Honduras
1,4Cristopher A. Antúnez-Fonseca, 1Jocelyn A. Castro, 2Farlem G. España,
3,4Josiah H. Townsend, and 4,5,*Larry D. Wilson
1Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras en el Valle de Sula, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, HONDURAS 2Mesoamerican
Development Institute, University of Massachusetts, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, USA and Yoro, HONDURAS 3Department
of Biology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania 15705 USA 4Centro Zamorano de Biodiversidad, Escuela Agrícola
Panamericana Zamorano, Francisco Morazán, HONDURAS 51350 Pelican Court, Homestead, Florida 33035-1031 USA
Abstract.A new species of Tantilla is described from the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado
(RVSBCS), on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Assigned to the Tantilla taeniata group, this species differs
from others in this group in color pattern, numbers of scales, measurements, and habitat. An incomplete pale
nuchal collar and a pale mediodorsal stripe extending to the proximal edge of the paravertebral rows on the
anterior third of the body are present. The lateral extension of the head cap does not completely separate the
postocular pale spot from the pale nuchal collar. A pale lateral stripe is present on the adjacent halves of dorsal
scale rows 3 and 4. The ventrolateral ground color is much darker than that of the dorsolateral ground color.
The ventral + subcaudal number of 244 is the highest gure for the males of species in the group. The RVSBCS
is an important coastal protected area in Mesoamerica, due to its signicant coastal diversity, including iconic
species, in addition to harboring this centipede snake.
Keywords. Centipede snake, Departamento de Atlántida, protected area, Reptilia, Río Salado, taxonomy
Resumen.—Describimos una nueva especie de Tantilla del Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado
(RVSBCS), en la costa caribeña de Honduras. Asignada al grupo Tantilla taeniata, esta especie diere de
otras en este grupo en cuanto a patrón de color, número de escamas, medidas y hábitat. Están presentes un
collar nucal pálido incompleto y una franja mediodorsal pálida que se extiende hasta el borde proximal de las
las paravertebrales en el tercio anterior del cuerpo. La extensión lateral de la tapa de la cabeza no separa
completamente la mancha pálida postocular del collar nucal pálido. Una franja lateral pálida está presente en
las mitades adyacentes de las las de escamas dorsales 3 y 4. El color de fondo ventrolateral es mucho más
oscuro que el color de fondo dorsolateral. El número ventral + subcaudal de 244 es la cifra más alta para los
machos de las especies del grupo. El RVSBCS es una importante área costera protegida en Mesoamérica, ya
que tiene una importante diversidad costera, incluidas especies icónicas, además de albergar a esta serpiente
tragaciempiés.
Palabras Claves. Área protegida, Departamento de Atlántida, Reptilia, Río Salado, serpiente ciempiés, taxonomía
Citation: Antúnez-Fonseca CA, Castro JA, España FG, Townsend JH, Wilson LD. 2020. A new species of Tantilla of the taeniata group (Squamata:
Colubridae) from Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado in Caribbean coastal Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 14(3)
[Taxonomy Section]: 86–102 (e258).
Copyright: © 2020 Antúnez-Fonseca et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
[Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/], which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction
in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The ofcial and authorized publication credit sources, which will be duly enforced,
are as follows: ofcial journal title Amphibian & Reptile Conservation; ofcial journal website: amphibian-reptile-conservation.org.
Accepted: 26 August 2020; Published: 28 September 2020
Ofcial journal website:
amphibian-reptile-conservation.org
Introduction
The colubrid genus Tantilla currently consists of 66
species (Wilson 1982; Wilson and Mata-Silva 2015;
Batista et al. 2016; Koch and Venegas 2016; Hofmann
et al. 2017; McCranie and Smith 2017; Uetz et al. 2020).
Collectively, members of this genus are distributed from
portions of many US states (Virginia, Indiana, Illinois,
Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada,
and California), southward through the peninsula of
Baja California, most of mainland Mexico, throughout
Central America, and into South America (as far south
Correspondence. cristopher.antunez@unah.edu.hn and caantunez1994@gmail.com (CAAF), jocelyn.castro@unah.hn and jocelynlainez29@
gmail.com (JAC), fespana@mesoamerican.org and efarlem@gmail.com (FGE), josiah.townsend@iup.edu (JHT), *bufodoc@aol.com (LDW)
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:614BD845-B778-42C8-A291-3E87B19B1224
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Antúnez-Fonseca et al.
37.9% of the 66 species now recognized (The Reptile
Database; accessed 13 May 2020). As noted in the
recent revision of McCranie and Smith (2017: 338), “the
Tantilla taeniata group members are characterized by the
possession of dark dorsal surfaces with pale middorsal
and lateral stripes, and by having a pale nuchal collar.
Those stripes are occasionally reduced to dashes or
dots in a few species, and the nuchal collar is complete,
incomplete, or reduced in a few species.”
In May 2018, a distinctively patterned Tantilla was
collected from a coastal locality within the boundaries
of Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado
(RVSBCS) in Honduras. The specimen exhibits the
general characteristics of coloration used to dene
members of the Tantilla taeniata group, but it also
exhibits clear diagnostic differences from all nominal
species in terms of coloration, features of scutellation,
measurements, and habitat. Efforts to collect additional
specimens of Tantilla from RVSBCS (in September 2018,
November 2018, and May 2019) were unsuccessful, but
we consider the characteristics of the single specimen
to be sufciently distinctive to warrant recognition as a
distinct species, which is described herein.
Materials and Methods
The description of the holotype follows those in
Campbell (1998), McCranie (2011b), Townsend et al.
(2013), and McCranie and Smith (2017). Morphological
measurements were made with an analogue caliper
Mitutoyo +0.02 mm series (No. 51490093) and an
LW Scientic DM Series Stereoscopic Microscope. A
considerable amount of time was spent examining the
shapes, sizes, and proportions of the scales of the head
following Savage (1973), and determining the numbers of
ventral, dorsal, and subcaudal scales following Dowling
(1951). The following measurements were recorded:
total length (TOL); snout-vent length (SVL), taken from
the tip of the rostral to the posterior edge of the cloacal
scute; tail length (TAL), taken from the posterior edge of
the cloacal scute to the tip of the tail; head length (HL),
taken from the tip of the rostral to the posterior end of the
upper jaw; and head width (HW), taken at the widest part
of the head. The lengths and widths of some head scales
were measured to provide a more detailed description of
the specimen.
The color pattern of the holotype in life is described
based on digital photographs taken with a Canon Rebel
T3 Camera, as well as the pattern after the specimen was
preserved in alcohol, following Campbell (1998). The
letter codes of the colors in parentheses below are based
on Köhler (2012). The patterns and types of colors and
morphological measurements (including numbers and
shapes of the scales), are compared between the specimen
collected and all known species of the Tantilla taeniata
group, based on the data in Townsend et al. (2013),
Batista et al. (2016), and McCranie and Smith (2017).
as southern Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and
Uruguay). This genus also occurs on Isla del Carmen in
the Gulf of California, the Tres Marías Islands off the
Pacic coast of mainland Mexico, Isla Cozumel off the
coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Bay Islands off the
northern coast of Honduras, and Trinidad and Tobago in
the British West Indies (Wilson 1999: 26). Due in part
to their cyptozoic nature, relatively few specimens of
many of the 66 described species have been collected,
and 13 are known thus far only from their respective
holotypes (Wilson and Mata-Silva 2015; Batista et al.
2016; Hofmann et al. 2017; McCranie and Smith 2017).
Wilson (1999) divided the genus Tantilla into
ve phenetic groups: T. calamarina, T. coronata, T.
melanocephala, T. planiceps, and T. taeniata. These
groups collectively contained 37 of the 53 species
(69.8%) included in the genus at the time that paper was
written. As noted by Wilson and Mata-Silva (2015: 451),
“Wilson and Mata-Silva (2014) suggested that [Tantilla
rubra] could be one of three (including T. bocourti and
T. cucullata…) that might comprise a so-called rubra
group” and that “Dixon et al. (2000) provided partial
support for this hypothesis, by indicating that T. cucullata
presumably is the sister taxon of [T. rubra].” Eleven of
the 13 species described or resurrected from synonymy
subsequent to Wilson (1999) have been allocated to
the calamarina group (T. ceboruca, T. sertula), the
melanocephala group (T. armillata, T. boipiranga, T.
ruceps), or the taeniata group (T. excelsa, T. gottei, T.
hendersoni, T. olympia, T. psittaca, T. stenigrammi). Two
additional species described after Wilson (1999) have
not been allocated to a phenetic group, i.e., T. robusta
(Canseco-Márquez et al. 2002) and T. tjiasmantoi (Koch
and Venegas 2016); the latter species, however, appears
to resemble T. semicincta (Wilson 1976), in that both
species have a pattern of dark transverse bands. Holm
(2008) allocated T. alticola, T. bairdi, T. moesta, T.
schistosa, and T. semicincta to the taeniata group and T.
petersi to the melanocephala group. However, that work
remains unpublished; therefore, its conclusions have not
been subjected to peer review so they are considered
as unsubstantiated and not followed here. Holm (2008)
also noted that T. albiceps, T. nigra, T. shawi, and T.
supracincta have many unique character states making
them difcult to allocate to a species group; and we
agree with this statement for the reasons indicated. This
statement also seems applicable to T. robusta, although
Canseco-Márquez et al. (2002) remarked that this species
resembles T. schistosa in color pattern. This species also
can be noted to resemble T. alticola in the same way.
Initially, Wilson and Meyer (1971) divided the Tantilla
taeniata group into six species, distributed geographically
from Oaxaca in Mexico to northwestern Colombia. This
is currently the largest group in the genus, including 25
described species (Smith and Williams 1966; Wilson
1983; McCranie 2011b; Townsend et al. 2013; Batista et
al. 2016; McCranie and Smith 2017), which comprises
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
The description of the hemipenis follows the descriptions
of T. psittaca (McCranie 2011b), T. olympia (Townsend
et al. 2013), and T. hendersoni (Hofmann et al. 2017).
Following the morphological species limits within the
Tantilla taeniata group by Campbell and Smith (1997),
Campbell (1998), and McCranie and Smith (2017), the
denition of this new species is based on characteristic
features of color pattern, such as the middorsal and lateral
stripes; the nuchal collar; the coloration of the head,
dorsum, and venter; the numbers of ventral, subcaudal,
dorsal, and head scales; and the total length, snout-vent
length, and tail length. This new species is described
based only on the holotype, following the procedures in
Campbell and Smith (1997), Stafford (2004), Townsend
et al. (2013), and Batista et al. (2016).
Results
Tantilla lydia sp. nov.
Figs. 1–2.
Suggested common name. Lydia’s Little Snake.
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:B37BD98E-336B-4436-A37B-707036196A6E
Holotype. An adult male, Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de Honduras en Valle de Sula ([UVS-V]
1189), from Comunidad Salado Barra in Refugio de
Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado (15.7633°N,
86.9948°W), elevation 7 m asl, Municipio de El Porvenir,
Departamento de Atlántida, Honduras, collected 21 May
2018 by Cristopher Antúnez-Fonseca, Farlem España,
Jocelyn Castro, Emmanuel Orellana, José Paz, and
Lourdes Alvarado. Original eld number CS 15.
Diagnosis. Tantilla lydia sp. nov. is a member of the
Tantilla taeniata species group, but distinguished
from all other congeners by possessing the following
combination of characteristics: (1) pale middorsal
stripe dark-edged, occupying middorsal scale row and
adjacent third of paravertebral rows on anterior third
of body, reducing to median half of vertebral row on
remainder of body, beginning approximately on tenth
middorsal scale past parietals, posterior to more or
less circular pale spot just posterior to dark nape band
located behind pale nuchal collar; (2) pale nuchal
collar incomplete dorsally, divided by dark coloration
on vertebral scales and connecting to dark posterior
border of dark head cap and dark nape band; (3) lateral
extension of dark head cap incomplete, not completely
separating postocular pale spot from pale nuchal band;
(4) subocular dark spot present, not extending to lip;
(5) ventrolateral region of body a much darker shade
of brown than dorsolateral region; (6) pale lateral stripe
well dened, dark edged, located on adjacent halves of
dorsal scales 3 and 4; (7) paraventral scale completely
pale on anterior portion, gradually darkening dorsally,
until becoming completely dark at the beginning of tail;
(8) postnasal and preocular narrowly separated; (9) 169
ventrals, 75 subcaudals, and 244 ventrals + subcaudals
in the single male holotype.
Tantilla lydia can be differentiated from the other
members of the T. taeniata group (Tables 1–2) by
having (scutellation data for males only): 169 ventrals
(vs. 152 in T. berguidoi, 139–152 in T. brevicauda, 172
in T. briggsi, 139–145 in T. cuniculator, 154–166 in T.
avilineata, 142–158 in T. gottei, 157 in T. hendersoni,
162–165 in T. impensa, 144–147 in T. jani, 144–159 in
Fig. 1. Dorsolateral view of the holotype of Tantilla lydia sp. nov. (UVS-V 1189) in life. Photo by Cristopher Antúnez-Fonseca.
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Antúnez-Fonseca et al.
T. johnsoni, 151–158 in T. oaxacae, 148 in T. olympia,
153–163 in T. psittaca, 158–159 in T. reticulata, 164
in T. stenigrammi, 146–161 in T. striata, 141–152 in T.
taeniata, 140–144 in T. tayrae, 157 in T. tritaeniata,
and 136–146 in T. vulcani); 75 subcaudals (vs. 65
in T. berguidoi, 22–26 in T. brevicauda, 68 in T.
briggsi, 53–58 in T. cuniculator, 70 in T. excelsa,
51–56 in T. avilineata, 62–67 in T. gottei, 70 in T.
hendersoni, 68–72 in T. impensa, 44–47 in T. jani, 62
in T. johnsoni, 46–52 in T. oaxacae, 49 in T. olympia,
63–73 in T. psittaca, 60–67 in T. reticulata, 33–42 in
T. striata, 60–70 in T. taeniata, 46–49 in T. tayrae,
and 39–50 in T. vulcani); pale nuchal band narrowly
divided middorsally (vs. obscure but complete in
T. berguidoi, complete dorsally in T. brevicauda,
T. cuniculator, T. excelsa, T. avilineata, T. gottei,
T. johnsoni, T. stenigrammi, T. taeniata, T. tecta, T.
trilineata, and T. triseriata, and reduced to two nuchal
spots in T. striata); by having nuchal band extending
onto parietals (vs. nuchal band conned to scales
posterior to parietals in T. hendersoni, T. slavensi, and
T. tayrae); pale middorsal stripe occupying middorsal
scale row and adjacent portions of paravertebral rows
on anterior third of body, narrowing to median portion
of middorsal scale row on remainder of body (vs.
conned to median portion of middorsal scale row
length of body in T. berguidoi, restricted to spots on
vertebral row in T. brevicauda, T. jani, T. olympia,
and T. vulcani, absent in T. briggsi, T. cuniculator,
and T. johnsoni, absent or barely indicated, consisting
of series of disjunct paler spots on anterior portion of
middorsal scales length of trunk or some portion of
anterior end thereof in T. tayrae, present on middorsal
scale row and some portion of paravertebral scale
rows length of body in T. excelsa, T. avilineata, T.
gottei, T. oaxacae, T. psittaca, T. reticulata, T. striata,
T. taeniata, and T. tritaeniata, conned to middorsal
scale row length of body in T. hendersoni, T. impensa,
Fig. 2. Dorsal (A), lateral (B), and ventral (C) views of the head and nape of the holotype of Tantilla lydia sp. nov. (UVS-V 1189).
Photos by Cristopher Antúnez-Fonseca.
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
T. tecta, and T. trilineata, conned to middorsal scale
row, becoming increasingly obscured and fragmented
posteriorly in T. slavensi, and conned to middorsal
scale row anteriorly and extending onto adjacent edges
of paravertebral scale rows posteriorly on body in T.
stenigrammi, T. tecta, and T. triseriata); pale lateral
stripe well-dened, occupying adjacent portions of
dorsal scale rows 3 and 4 (vs. occupying dorsal scale
4 and adjacent halves of rows 3 and 5 in T. berguidoi,
T. excelsa, T. avilineata, T. oaxacae, T. reticulata, and
T. stenigrammi, poorly dened, occupying all of row 4,
upper half of row 3, and sometimes lower portion of row
5 in T. brevicauda, interrupted on adjacent portion of
scale rows 3 and 4 in T. briggsi, barely discernible on
adjacent portions of scale rows 3 and 4 in T. cuniculator,
absent or occupying portion of adjacent portions of scale
rows 3 and 4, most clearly or barely evident on anterior
portion of trunk in T. johnsoni and T. tayrae, well-
defned, consisting of spots on scale row 4 in T. olympia);
paraventral scale pale anteriorly, gradually darkening
until reaching tail (vs. uniformly tan, brown, or dark
brown length of body in T. berguidoi, T. brevicauda, T.
cuniculator, T. jani, T. johnsoni, T. oaxacae, T. reticulata,
T. striata, T. tayrae, T. tecta, and T. vulcani, lower portion
pale, distinctly set off from dark upper half length of body
in T. briggsi, T. gottei, T. hendersoni, and T. impensa,
lower two-thirds anteriorly and about lower one-third
posteriorly white similar to color of ventrals in T. excelsa;
dark streak on posterior portion of otherwise pale colored
scale in T. avilineata, with pale center, edged with dark
pigment in T. olympia, lower two-thirds pale, area with
pale pigment slightly decreasing posteriorly on body in
T. psittaca, lower half pale, distinctly set off from dark
brown upper half in T. slavensi and T. taeniata, lower
half to two-thirds of scale row 1 colored similarly to
ventrals in T. stenigrammi, unpigmented on anterior half
or more of body, upper half darkly pigmented thereafter
in T. triseriata, lower tip pale, decreasing in amount of
coverage posteriorly in T. tritaeniata); and by venter
immaculate white (vs. increasingly involved with ventral
edge of ventrolateral dark stripe proceeding toward
tail tip in T. berguidoi, sometimes lightly pigmented
in T. brevicauda, immaculate cream anteriorly to pale
pink posteriorly in T. briggsi, immaculate reddish-
orange in T. cuniculator, white with little or no dark
spotting in T. excelsa, scattering of brown pigment in T.
avilineata, edged with dark brown spotting in T. jani,
with slight extension of tan coloration of rst scale row
Species Maximum total
length (mm) Ventrals (♂) Subcaudals (♂) Ventrals (♀) Subcaudals (♀) Tail/total length
ratio (%)
T. lydia sp. nov. 344 169 75 23.8
T. berguidoi 408 152 65 25.2
T. brevicauda 171 139–152 22–26 148–160 21–22 9.9–12.9
T. briggsi 301 172 68 22.6
T. cuniculator 220 139–145 53–58 140–154 48–53 19.7–22.9
T. excelsa 400 169 70 161–178 61 23.0–24.0
T. avilineata 293 154–166 51–56 152–168 43–49 17.7–20.6
T. gottei 391 142–158 62–67 147 61–70 23.0–26.0
T. hendersoni 358 157 70 151–153 64 23.9–24.9
T. impensa ca. 725 162–165 68–72 164–172 65–72 21.0–25.0
T. jani 242 144–147 44–47 144 47 15.7–20.7
T. johnsoni 353+ 144–159 62 22.5
T. oaxacae 284 151–158 46–52 145 45–48 19.9–21.2
T. olympia 338 148 49 20.7
T. psittaca 413 153–163 63–73 154–161 24.1–25.2
T. reticulata 312 158–159 60–67 162–173 59–70 21.7–24.1
T. slavensi 346 158–159 52–56 19.9–24.6
T. stenigrammi 173+ 164 159 —
T. striata 217 146–161 33–42 145–163 31–34 13.0–17.0
T. taeniata 415 141–152 60–70 150 59 23.0–27.0
T. tayrae 360 140–144 46–49 146–154 44–51 18.5–20.3
T. tecta 222 — 148 54 23.0
T. trilineata Tail incomplete 149 41+
T. triseriata 375 159–167 58–63 19.7–22.2
T. tritaeniata 273 157 155–161 59–65 22.7–23.6
T. vulcani 247 136–146 39–50 141–154 38–47 15.4–22.0
Table 1. Selected features of measurements, proportion, and scutellation of the members of the Tantilla taeniata group. Modied
from Townsend et al. (2013).
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Antúnez-Fonseca et al.
Species Nuchal band Pale middorsal stripe Pale lateral stripe Paraventral scale Lateral edges of
ventral scales
T. lydia sp. nov. Interrupted dorsally, extends onto
parietals, crosses last supralabial
Occupying middorsal
scale row and adjacent
third of paravertebral rows
on anterior third of body,
reducing to middorsal row
on remainder
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Pale anteriorly, gradually
darkening until reaching
tail
Immaculate white
T. berguidoi
Obscure, beginning on posterior portions
of parietals and extending posteriorly
onto middorsal scale immediately behind
median parietal suture, laterally grading
into pale pigment on posterior portion of
last supralabial and nuchal scale posterior
to last supralabial and posterior temporal
scale
Conned to median portion
of middorsal scale row
Occupies dorsal scale
4 and adjacent halves
of scale rows 3 and 5
Uniformly dark brown
Increasingly involved
with ventral edge of
ventrolateral dark stripe
proceeding toward
tail tip
T. brevicauda Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and does or does not cross last supralabial
Reduced to spots on
vertebral scales
Poorly dened,
occupying upper half
of row 3, all of row 4,
and sometimes lower
portion of row 5
Uniformly brown to dark
brown
Sometimes lightly
pigmented
T. briggsi Interrupted dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial Absent
Interrupted on
adjacent halves of
scale rows 3 and 4
Lower half pale,
distinctly set off from
dark upper half
Immaculate cream
anteriorly to pale pink
(red-orange in life?)
posteriorly
T. cuniculator Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial Absent
Barely discernible
on adjacent halves of
scale rows 3 and 4
Uniformly brown Immaculate reddish-
orange
T. excelsa Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial
Extends along the body at
least to middle of tail, on the
vertebral row and adjacent
third of paravertebral rows
Well dened on
adjacent halves of
rows 3 and 4
Lower two-thirds
anteriorly and about
lower third posteriorly of
scale row 1 white similar
to color of ventrals
White with little or no
dark spotting
T. avilineata Complete dorsally, does or does not extend
onto parietals and crosses last supralabial
Occupies middorsal
and adjacent halves of
paravertebral scale rows
Well dened on row 4
and adjacent halves of
rows 3 and 5
Dark streak on posterior
portion of otherwise pale
colored scale
Scattering of brown
pigment
T. gottei Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial
Extends length of the body
and most of tail on vertebral
row and adjacent third of
paravertebral rows
Adjacent third to
three-quarters of scale
rows 3 and 4
Lower two-thirds of row
1 scales colored similarly
to ventrals
Immaculate white to
yellow
Table 2. Selected characteristics of the color pattern in members of the Tantilla taeniata group. Modied from Townsend et al. (2013).
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
Species Nuchal band Pale middorsal stripe Pale lateral stripe Paraventral scale Lateral edges of
ventral scales
T. hendersoni
Interrupted or complete dorsally, does not
extend onto parietals, but does cross last
supralabial
Conned to middorsal scale
row
Occupies adjacent
thirds of scale rows 3
and 4
Lower half pale,
distinctly set off from
dark upper half
Immaculate white
T. impensa
Complete or interrupted dorsally, extends
onto parietals or not and crosses last
supralabial
Occupies medial two-thirds
of middorsal scale row
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Lower half cream to
yellow, upper half dark
brown
Immaculate cream
T. jani
Interrupted dorsally and laterally, medial
portion extends onto parietals and lateral
portion crossing last supralabial
Reduced to series of small
spots on vertebral scale row
Narrow, occupying
adjacent thirds of
scale rows 3 and 4
Primarily uniformly dark
brown
Edged with dark brown
spotting
T. johnsoni Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial Absent
Absent or occupying
portion of adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4, most clearly
on anterior portion of
trunk
Uniformly tan to dark tan Immaculate cream
T. oaxacae
Usually interrupted dorsally, extends
onto parietals, but does not cross last
supralabial
Occupies middorsal
and adjacent halves of
paravertebral scale rows
Well dened on row 4
and adjacent halves of
rows 3 and 5
Uniformly tan
Slight extension of tan
coloration of rst scale
row
T. olympia Interrupted dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial
Reduced to series of spots on
vertebral scale row (one per
scale)
Well dened,
consisting of spots on
4th scale row
Pale center, edged with
dark pigment Darkly pigmented
T. psittaca Complete dorsally or not, extends onto
parietals and crosses last supralabial
Occupies middorsal and
adjacent one third to one half
of paravertebral scale rows
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Lower two thirds pale,
area with pale pigment
slightly decreasing
posteriorly on body
Immaculate pink
anteriorly grading to
red on posterior two-
thirds of body
T. reticulata Interrupted dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial
Occupies middorsal
and adjacent halves of
paravertebral scale rows
Well dened on row 4
and adjacent halves of
rows 3 and 5
Uniformly pale brown Darkly pigmented
T. slavensi
Interrupted dorsally, conned to scales
posterior to parietals, crosses last
supralabial
Conned to middorsal scale
row, becoming increasingly
obscured and fragmented
posteriorly
Occupies adjacent
thirds of scale rows 3
and 4
Lower half pale,
distinctly set off from
dark brown upper half
Immaculate orange
Table 2 (continued). Selected characteristics of the color pattern in members of the Tantilla taeniata group. Modied from Townsend et al. (2013).
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Species Nuchal band Pale middorsal stripe Pale lateral stripe Paraventral scale Lateral edges of
ventral scales
T. stenigrammi
Complete dorsally, extends onto the
edges of the parietals and crosses the last
supralabial
Conned to middorsal scale
row, at least on anterior half
and extending onto adjacent
edges of paravertebral scale
rows posteriorly on body
Occupies adjacent
halves of rows 3 and 4
Lower half to two-thirds
of scale row 1 colored
similarly to ventrals
Immaculate white
T. striata
Reduced to two nuchal spots, extending
onto parietals or not and crossing last
supralabial or not
Occupies middorsal
and adjacent halves of
paravertebral scale rows
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Uniformly pale brown Immaculate cream
T. taeniata Usually complete dorsally, extends onto
parietals and crosses last supralabial
Occupies middorsal
and adjacent halves of
paravertebral scale rows
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Lower half pale,
distinctly set off from
dark upper half
Usually immaculate
cream anteriorly
grading to yellow
posteriorly, but
sometimes with a few
small dark spots
T. tayrae
Poorly indicated, interrupted dorsally
or dorsally and laterally, conned to
scales posterior to parietals, crosses last
supralabial
Absent or barely indicated,
consisting of series of
disjunct slightly paler
spots on anterior portion of
middorsal scales the length
of the trunk or some portion
of anterior end thereof
Absent or barest
indication of one on
adjacent halves of
scale rows 3 and 4
on anterior portion of
trunk
Uniformly dark brown
Dark spot on extreme
anterolateral portion of
each ventral
T. tecta Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial
Conned to middorsal scale
length of body
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Uniformly brown
Edged with color same
as that of paraventral
row
T. trilineata
Complete dorsally, position relative to
parietals not documented, crosses last
supralabial
Conned to middorsal scale
row
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Unknown Immaculate cream
T. triseriata Complete dorsally, extends onto parietals
and crosses last supralabial
Conned to middorsal
scale row anteriorly,
expanding to adjacent
halves of paravertebral rows
posteriorly
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Unpigmented on anterior
half or more of trunk,
upper half of scale darkly
pigmented thereafter
Immaculate pale yellow
T. tritaeniata
Interrupted dorsally, in some cases also
laterally, extends onto parietals, and
crosses last supralabial
Occupies middorsal and
one third to two-thirds of
paravertebral rows
Occupies adjacent
two-thirds of scale
rows 3 and 4
Lower tip pale,
decreasing in amount of
coverage posteriorly
Immaculate cream
T. vulcani Usually complete dorsally, extends onto
parietals and crosses last supralabial
Reduced to series of small
spots on vertebral scale row
(one per scale)
Occupies adjacent
halves of scale rows
3 and 4
Uniformly brown
Darkly edged with
color similar to that
of paraventral row;
remainder of venter
white
Table 2 (continued). Selected characteristics of the color pattern in members of the Tantilla taeniata group. Modied from Townsend et al. (2013).
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
scales present between the posterior chin shields and
rst ventral. Dorsal scales in 15-15-15 smooth rows
throughout the body, without apical pits or supra-cloacal
tubercles; dorsal scales 6 at the 10th subcaudal; ventral
169; cloacal shield divided; subcaudals 75, paired;
ventrals plus subcaudals 244. Hemipenes slightly
everted, bilobed, well-differentiated, pedicel naked and
smooth, apical region with large spines.
Coloration of holotype in life (Figs. 1–2). Dark
dorsolateral region of body Prout’s Brown (47);
pale middorsal stripe Clay Color (18) present on the
middorsal scales and one-fourth of the adjacent portion
of the paravertebral scales on anterior portion of body
up to ventral 38, thence narrowing to cover only the
median two-thirds of middorsal scale on remainder of
body, edged with Sepia (286); pale lateral stripe located
on adjacent halves of dorsal scale rows 3 and 4 Chamois
(84) in color, grading to Tawny Olive (17) on posterior
portion of body, bordered on upper half of row 4 with
Sepia (286), ventrolateral portion of body from ventral
half of row 3 to dorsal portion of row 1 Sepia (286);
ventral portion of scale row 1 Smoky White (261); dorsal
surface of head from rostral to anterior two-thirds of
parietals Buff (15), with Sepia (286) edging on some
scale edges; posterior portion of head cap edged with
Sepia (286) margin on lateral edges of parietals, upper
postocular, upper edge of anterior temporal, upper half of
posterior temporal, and anterior half of adjacent nuchal
scale; this dark head cap margin conuent with Sepia
(286) subocular spot on anterior edge of lower postocular,
upper portions of supralabials 3 and 4, and posterodorsal
corner of supralabial 2, not touching lip; iris Jet Black
(300); lateral portion of head Pale Buff (1), except for
Sepia (286) spot on adjacent portions of supralabials 6
and 7, representing isolated segment of lateral extension
of head cap, completely separated from dorsal portion of
head cap; pale preocular and postocular spots conuent
below dark subocular spot; pale nuchal band Light Buff
(2) grading to Pale Buff (1) laterally, extending onto
posterior tips of parietals where color is Yellow Ocher
(14), narrowly divided by middorsal connection between
posterior edge of head cap and a Sepia (486) nape band
three middorsal scales long, which abuts and edges
posteriorly a Yellow Ocher (14) spot covering most of
four dorsal scales and is separated from pale middorsal
stripe, which begins about one scale posterior to that
point; venter of head Pale Buff (1), with Sepia (286) spot
on mental and similarly-colored spots on medial portion
of each infralabial 4; venter of body and tail Pale Buff (1).
Coloration of holotype in preservative. After seven
months of preservation, the holotype exhibited the
following coloration: dark dorsolateral region of body
Drab (19), located between two pale stripes; Smoky
White (261) stripe with Sepia (286) edges covering the
vertebral scales and one-fourth of the adjacent potion
in T. oaxacae, darkly pigmented in T. olympia and T.
reticulata, immaculate pink anteriorly grading to red on
posterior two-thirds of body in T. psittaca, immaculate
orange in T. slavensi, usually immaculate, but sometimes
with a few small dark spots in T. taeniata, dark spot on
extreme anterolateral portion of each ventral in T. tayrae,
and edged with same color as that of paraventral row in
T. tecta, and darkly edged with color similar to that of
paraventral row, remainder of venter white in T. vulcani).
Description of holotype (Figs. 1–2). An adult male,
with partially everted hemipenes, measuring 262 mm
SVL and 82 mm TL (TOL = 344 mm; 23.9% of TOL).
The head is slightly broader than the attenuate body; HL
8.5 mm; HW 5.1 mm; ED 1.4 mm, about 16.5% of HL;
snout length 4.8 mm, about 56.4% of HL; snout rounded
in dorsal and lateral views; pupil circular; rostral in the
shape of an inverted triangle (2.1 mm in length by 1.1 mm
in width), 1.9 times wider than long; internasal (0.9 mm
in length by 1.7 mm in width), 1.9 times wider than long,
contacting anterior and posterior nasal, and relatively
large nostril; short suture between pre- and postnasals,
below nostril; prefrontal more or less quadrangular (1.7
mm in length by 1.9 mm in width), anterior portion
wider than the posterior portion prefrontal, 1.5 times
longer than intersuture length; parietal (4.0 mm in length
by 2.1 mm in width), about 1.9 times longer than wide;
prefrontal suture 1.2 mm in length; frontal (2.5 mm
in length by 1.9 mm in width), pentagonal in shape,
approximately 1.3 times longer than wide, approximately
as long as the distance from its anterior edge to tip of
snout; supraocular (1.9 mm in length by 0.9 mm in
width) approximately 2.1 times longer than wide; central
portion of parietal 1.9 times longer than wide; parietals
in contact with ve nuchal scales; border of orbit in
contact with parietal, upper postocular, supraocular, and
frontal; rostral in contact with anterior nasal, internodal,
and supralabial 1; anterior nasal in contact with the
rostral, nostril, and rst supralabial; posterior nasal in
contact with nostril, prefrontal, and supralabials 1 and
2; relatively large nasal fossa located between anterior
nasal and posterior nasal; loreal absent; preocular single,
of inverted pentagonal shape (0.7 x 0.9 mm), lower
margin contacting supralabials 2 and 3; postoculars 2/2,
upper scale of roughly pentagonal shape (0.8 x 0.6 mm);
temporals 1+1, anterior temporal (1.9 x 0.9 mm) longer
than wide, posterior temporal (2.0 x 1.0 mm) longer
than wide; supralabials 7/7, supralabial 1 in contact
with supralabial 2 and nasals, supralabial 2 in contact
with supralabial 1 and 3, preocular, and prefrontal, 3
and 4 bordering the eye, 4 and 5 contacting the lower
postocular, 5, 6, and 7 bounding the ventral border of the
anterior temporal, 7 contacting the anterior and posterior
temporal, and the scales of the pale collar; a pair of chin
shields present, anterior ones 1.7 times longer than wide,
in contact with infralabials 1, 2, 3 and 4, infralabial 6/6,
rst four in contact with chin shields; and four preventral
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Antúnez-Fonseca et al.
of the paravertebrals, to a point 38 ventral scales along
the body, after which this stripe narrows to occupy only
middorsal scale row for remainder of body; adjacent
portions of dorsal scales 3 and 4 Pale Buff (1), edged
by Sepia (286) above, area below lateral pale stripe
Hair Brown (276); paraventral portion of dorsal scale
row 1 immaculate Pale Buff (1), as are the ventral
scales. Dorsal head cap is Hair Brown (276), rimmed
on posterior portion by Sepia (286); pale nuchal color is
Pale Buff (1), divided narrowly middorsally by a Sepia
(286) line connecting posteriorly to the Sepia (286) nape
band; side of head is Pale Buff (1), with a Sepia (286)
subocular spot not touching lip and a Sepia (286) spot on
posterior portion of supralabial six and anterior portion
of supralabial seven; chin Pale Buff (1) colored with
Sepia (286) spots on mental and fourth infralabials.
Etymology. We are privileged to name this new species
of snake in honor of Dr. Lydia Allison Fucsko who
resides in Melbourne, Australia, and is an amphibian
conservationist and environmental activist. As an
internationally published photographer, she has taken
countless pictures of amphibians, including photo
galleries of mostly southeastern Australian frogs. Dr.
Fucsko has a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from
La Trobe University (Bundoora, Victoria, Australia),
and a Diploma in Education from The University
of Melbourne (Parkville, Victoria, Australia). She has
postgraduate diplomas in computer education and in
vocational education and training from The University
of Melbourne (Parkville). Additionally, Dr. Fucsko
holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Monash
University (Clayton, Victoria, Australia). She received
her Ph.D. on environmental education, which promoted
habitat conservation, species perpetuation, and global
sustainable management, from Swinburne University
of Technology (Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia),
while being mentored by the late world-renowned
Australian herpetologist and academic Dr. Michael
James Tyler (Order of Australia recipient). Dr. Fucsko,
an educational consultant, was responsible for major
enhancements in the quality of the images provided
herein and is also a research collaborator with the fth
author (LDW). Dr. Fucsko’s academic interests include:
clinical psychology, focusing on psychopathology;
neuroscience and empathy; environmental education for
sustainable development; sentient ecology; academic
writing; and creative writing, including poetry and
creative nonction books for children and young
adults. We use Dr. Fucsko’s given name as a noun in
apposition, with the spelling of the Latin transliteration
from the Ancient Greek Λυδία (Ludia), meaning
“beauty, beautiful, noble one.” Thus, the snake named
here as Tantilla lydia sp. nov. can be envisioned as the
“beautiful one.”
Distribution and habitat (Figs. 3–4). Tantilla lydia
sp. nov. is known only from a narrow strip of disturbed
Coastal Scrub habitat in the Lowland Wet Forest (LWF;
Holdridge 1967). In the vicinity of the holotype collection
location, the predominant plant families and species
are: Myrtaceae (Syzygium cumini, Indian Blackberry
or Malabar Plum); Arecaceae (Elaeis guianensis and
Cocos nucifera, African Oil Palm and Coconut Palm,
respectively); Melastomataceae (Conostegia xalapensis,
Canelito); Fabaceae (Abrus precatorius, Rosary Pea);
Fig. 3. Distribution of the species of the Tantilla taeniata group in Honduras. The star indicates the type locality of Tantilla lydia sp.
nov. The most northwestern location of Tantilla gottei was recently published by Orellana Murillo et al. (2020).
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
and Marantaceae (Thalia geniculata, Fire-ag). The male
holotype of this snake was found active on 21 May 2018
during a night with clear skies at 2230 h, between the
rails of the old Standard Fruit Company railroad track,
566 m southwest in a straight line from the center of the
Comunidad de Salado Barra, approximately 450 m from
the Río Salado, 590 m from the community beach, and
5,900 m from the Comunidad de La Unión. An association
of mangrove forest species predominates to the west of
the type locality on the banks of the aforementioned
river, and includes Rhizophora mangle (Red Mangrove),
Conocarpus erectus (Buttonwood), Avicennia germinans
(Black Mangrove), and Laguncularia racemosa
(White Mangrove). Tantilla lydia sp. nov. shares its
microhabitat with other amphibians and reptiles, such as
Dendropsophus microcephalus, Scinax staufferi, Smilica
baudinii, Basiliscus vittatus, Coniophanes imperialis,
and Bothrops asper.
Conservation status. Applying the IUCN Red List criteria
(IUCN 2012; IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee
2019) to Tantilla lydia, indicates that this species should
be considered Critically Endangered (B1ab[iii]) due to
the known distribution being limited to a single highly-
intervened, threat-dened area of lowland Coastal Strand
habitat of < 10 km2 in total extent, which has undergone
extensive loss of remaining habitat due to deforestation and
development. Efforts are underway to restore this habitat,
and it is likely that further survey work in nearby coastal
areas could uncover additional habitat and/or populations.
Given the single known locality of Tantilla lydia sp. nov.,
its unknown population size, unknown extent of geographic
and ecological distribution, and signicant and continuing
degradation of habitat in the vicinity of the type locality, we
propose an Environmental Vulnerability Score (EVS) of 16
(6+8+2) within the “High Vulnerability” category (Wilson
and McCranie 2003; Johnson et al. 2015).
Species Country
distribution
Ecological
distribution
Elevational
distribution
Versant
distribution EVS EVS
category
IUCN
category
Conservation
priority level
T. lydia sp. nov. H LMF 7 m Atlantic 16 H NE One
T. berguidoi P PWF 1,376 m Pacic 16 H NE One
T. brevicauda G, ES PMF, PWF,
LMWF 1,200–1,510 m Pacic 13 M LC Eight
T. briggsi M LMF 95 m Atlantic 16 H DD One
T. cuniculator B, M LAF, LDF near sea
level–100 m Atlantic 13 M LC Seven
T. excelsa HLDF, LMF,
PWF 30–700 m Atlantic 13 M NE Eight
T. avilineata M LMDF, LMMF 1,800–2,300 m Atlantic 14 H EN One
T. gottei H LDF, PDF, PMF 500–1,280 m Pacic 14 H NE One
T. hendersoni B PMF 194–580 m Atlantic 16 H DD One
T. impensa G, H, M LMF, PMF,
PWF, LMWF
near sea
level–1,600 m Atlantic 10 M LC Eight
T. jani G PWF 1,050 m Pacic 14 H VU Two
T. johnsoni M LDF 450 m Pacic 16 H DD One
T. oaxacae M PMF, LMMF 600–1,600 m Pacic 15 H DD One
T. olympia H PWF 1,150 m Atlantic 16 H NE One
T. psittaca H LMF 5–420 m Atlantic 15 H VU One
T. reticulata C, CR, N, P LMF, PWF 10–1,345 m Atlantic and
Pacic 13 M LC Nine
T. slavensi M LMF, PWF 50–800 m Atlantic 14 H DD One
T. stenigrammi H PMF 895–1,180 m Atlantic 15 H NE One
T. striata M LDF, PMF 0–1,500 m Pacic 14 H DD Two
T. taeniata G PMF 1,020–1,550 m Pacic 14 H LC Two
T. tayrae M LMF, PWF 500–1,000 m Pacic 15 H DD One
T. tecta G LDF 220 m Atlantic 16 H DD One
T. trilineata Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
T. triseriata MLDF, PMF,
PWF 500–1,200 m Atlantic and
Pacic 13 M DD Eight
T. tritaeniata HLWF near sea level Caribbean
insular 16 H CR One
T. vulcani G, M LDF, LMF,
PWF 500–700 m Pacic 12 M NE Seven
Table 3. Selected features of distribution and conservation status of the members of the Tantilla taeniata group. Country distribution
abbreviations as follows: Belize = B; Colombia = C; Costa Rica = CR; El Salvador = ES; Guatemala = G; Honduras = H; Mexico = M;
Nicaragua = N; Panama = P. Ecological formations are abbreviated as follows: LAF = Lowland Arid Forest, LDF = Lowland Dry Forest,
LMF = Lowland Moist Forest, LWF = Lowland Wet Forest, PDF = Premontane Dry Forest, PMF = Premontane Moist Forest, PWF =
Premontane Wet Forest, LMDF = Lower Montane Dry Forest, LMMF = Lower Montane Moist Forest, LMWF = Lower Montane West
Forest. EVS = Environmental Vulnerability Scores (explained in text). EVS categorization as follows: M = medium; H = high. IUCN
categorization as follows: CR = Critically Endangered; EN = Endangered; VU = Vulnerable; LC = Least Concern; DD = Data Decient;
and NE = Not evaluated. Conservation priority levels are explained in the text.
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Antúnez-Fonseca et al.
1,500 m), and ve at intermediate elevations (1,501–
2,300 m). More specically, the numbers of species
found in particular forest formations are as follows (Table
3): Lowland Moist Forest (nine species), Lowland Dry
Forest (eight), Lowland Arid Forest (one), Premontane
Wet Forest (11), Premontane Moist Forest (nine), Lower
Montane Wet Forest (two), Lower Montane Moist Forest
(two), and Lower Montane Dry Forest (one). Thirteen
of the 26 species (50.0%) occupy more than one forest
formation; the remainder are found in only a single
formation.
Most of the species in the T. taeniata group (22 of 26
species; 84.6%) are limited to occurrence on only one
versant. Of the 22 single-versant species, 10 are limited
to the Pacic versant and 12 to the Atlantic versant.
Only two species (T. reticulata and T. triseriata) occupy
both versants, and one other species (T. tritaeniata) is of
insular distribution (on the Bay Islands of Honduras).
The conservation status of the members of the T.
taeniata group were examined using the IUCN and
EVS systems. The IUCN system is the more broadly
used of the two systems, but proves to be less useful for
comprehensive conservation assessment than the EVS
system (Table 3). For example, the largest number of
species (nine) is allocated to the Data Decient category
of IUCN and the next largest (seven) to the Not Evaluated
category. These two categories, which divulge no useful
information about the conservation status of the species
involved, are applied to 16 species, or 61.5% of the 25
species in the taeniata group that can be categorized.
(Note that T. trilineata is too poorly known to allow
for categorization, because it is known only from the
holotype from an unknown locality). Five species are
allocated to the Least Concern category (T. brevicauda,
T. cuniculator, T. impensa, T. reticulata, and T. taeniata).
With the exception of T. taeniata, the remaining four
are the most broadly distributed geographically and
ecologically, and are allocated to the threatened categories
of Critically Endangered (T. tritaeniata), Endangered (T.
avilineata), and Vulnerable (T. jani and T. psittaca).
The EVS system (Wilson et al. 2013a,b; Johnson et
al. 2015) is of greater utility, as all species, other than T.
trilineata, can be categorized (Table 3). The EVS range
from 10 to 16, with an average score of 14.4. Eighteen
of the 25 species that can be categorized (72.0%) are
allocated to the high vulnerability category (with scores
ranging from 14 to 16); the remaining seven (28.0%) are
placed in the medium vulnerability category (with scores
ranging from 10 to 13). Thus, none of the species are
allocated to the low category of vulnerability. Typically,
Mesoamerican species of Tantilla are restricted in
distribution and this phenomenon is reected in their
generally high EVS.
Johnson et al. (2017) and Mata-Silva et al. (2019)
introduced the concept of conservation priority levels
by combining patterns of physiographic distribution
with environmental vulnerability scores. These levels
Discussion
This species represents an addition to the genus Tantilla
(Baird and Girard 1853) and is assigned to the T. taeniata
group on the basis of features of color pattern. As noted
above, the T. taeniata group was considered to comprise
25 species until now, with the description of T. lydia sp.
nov. bringing the number to 26. Wilson (1999) listed
18 species for this group: T. brevicauda, T. briggsi,
T. cuniculator, T. avilineata, T. impensa, T. jani, T.
johnsoni, T. oaxacae, T. reticulata, T. slavensi, T. striata,
T. taeniata, T. tayrae, T. tecta, T. trilineata, T. triseriata, T.
tritaeniata, and T. vulcani. Since the summary provided
by Wilson (1999), an additional seven species have been
described: T. berguidoi (Batista et al. 2016), T. excelsa
(McCranie and Smith 2017), T. gottei (McCranie and
Smith 2017), T. hendersoni (Stafford 2004), T. olympia
(Townsend et al. 2013), T. psittaca (McCranie 2011), and
T. stenigrammi (McCranie and Smith 2017).
Members of the T. taeniata group are distributed
in all Mesoamerican countries and the northwestern-
most country of South America, i.e., Colombia (Table
3), as follows: Mexico (11 species), Belize (two),
Guatemala (six), El Salvador (one), Honduras (eight),
Nicaragua (one), Costa Rica (one), Panama (two),
and Colombia (one). Most of this group’s species are
limited in distribution to single countries (i.e., endemic),
amounting to 20 of the 26 species (Table 3). Thus, only
ve of the species are found in more than one country: T.
brevicauda (Guatemala and El Salvador), T. cuniculator
(Mexico and Belize), T. impensa (Mexico, Guatemala,
and Honduras), T. reticulata (Nicaragua, Costa Rica,
Panama, and Colombia), and T. vulcani (Mexico and
Guatemala).
Members of the T. taeniata group are found in most of
the forest formations which occur throughout the group’s
range (Table 3) at low, moderate, and intermediate
elevations (ranging from near sea level to 2,300 m).
Seventeen species are distributed at low elevations (sea
level to 600 m), sixteen at moderate elevations (601–
Fig. 4. Type locality and surrounding habitat for Tantilla lydia
sp. nov. showing the train tracks where the holotype was
collected, Comunidad de Salado Barra, La Unión, Departamento
de Atlántida, Honduras. Photo by Cristopher Antúnez-Fonseca.
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
can theoretically range from one to 24 in Mesoamerica,
but practically range from one to 18. For the species of
the T. taeniata group these levels (Table 3) range from
one to nine, as follows: one (15 species), two (three),
seven (two), eight (four), and nine (one). Fifteen of the
25 species (60.0%) for which the priority levels can be
determined are allocated to conservation priority level
one and, thus, merit the greatest degree of conservation
attention among the species in the T. taeniata group
(Table 3).
The holotype of Tantilla lydia was found in a strip
of forest in the “regeneration” stage in the middle of a
cultivation of Cocos nucifera adjoining a mangrove
forest almost 0.5 km from the Río Salado. Although in
some respects, the known ecology of T. lydia is similar
to that of other species within the T. taeniata group in
Honduras; specically, all of these species occur in leaf
litter, although T. lydia occurs at lower elevations than the
other species and, unlike the other species in this group,
it was found in Lowland Wet Forest (Holdridge 1967).
In contrast, T. excelsa occurs mainly at higher elevations
and almost exclusively in Premontane Moist Forest and
Lowland Dry Forest, but also in Lowland Wet Forest and
typically in proximity to rivers; T. gottei also occurs at
higher elevations than T. lydia and is found in pine forests
within the Premontane Moist Forest and Lowland Dry
Forest zones in the middle basin of the Choluteca River
in south-central Honduras; T. impensa occurs in Tropical
and Subtropical Humid Forests, mainly in primary
forests and is known to use rotting logs for refuge, as
well as leaf litter; T. olympia is known from Premontane
Moist Forest; T. psittaca occurs at similar elevation but
in Broadleaf Primary Rain Forest and Pine Savanna,
and also occurs in rotting logs; T. stenigrammi occurs at
higher elevations in disturbed pine-oak forest and Lower
Montane Wet Forest adjacent to the Sico Tinto River; and
T. tritaeniata occurs at similar low elevations as T. lydia,
but only on Isla Guanaja (Ariano-Sánchez and Sunyer
2013; Campbell 1998; McCranie 2011a; McCranie and
Smith 2017; Smith and Williams 1966; Townsend et al.
2013). Thus, T. lydia is distinct from other species within
the Tantilla taeniata group in Honduras in terms of its
distribution and ecology, as well as its morphology.
This discovery highlights the fauna of the Refugio
de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado (RVSBCS),
and the importance of establishing and maintaining a
network of protected areas to ensure the conservation
of representative communities throughout the country
of Honduras. Human activities in the landscape
surrounding the RVSBCS involve the maintenance of
agricultural systems (i.e., banana, coconut, and African
oil palm), livestock production, and human settlements.
These activities have reduced signicantly the area of the
ecosystem within which T. lydia evolved. Additionally,
existing patches of potential habitat are threatened by
continued intensication of these human activities,
which results in further reduction in available habitat or
fragmentation that interrupts the connectivity of existing
forest patches (Ferrán 1992). As such, the long-term
conservation of T. lydia is likely at risk. While no attempts
are underway to quantify the species’ population status, it
is likely to be decreasing, as is the case with many of the
other species of ora and fauna restricted to this region
One nal note regarding the taxonomy of the T.
taeniata group needs to be mentioned. As indicated by
McCranie and Smith (2017: 346), “problems remain
with the taxonomy of the El Salvadoran and Nicaraguan
specimens identied in the literature as T. taeniata.
Köhler (2003, 2008) and Sunyer and Köhler (2007)
provided photographs of recently collected Nicaraguan
specimens, and Köhler et al. (2005) included a
photograph of a recently collected El Salvador specimen.
These specimens also need to be addressed in light of
the new taxonomic change[s].” This work remains to be
completed.
Acknowledgments.—The authors especially thank
José Paz, Sunilda Hernández, David Jiménez, and Irma
Cáceces of the community of Salado Barra for their
cordial attention during our stays, with them, this work
in the eld was much more comfortable and enjoyable:
Glenda Castillo, Stefani Jiménez, and Lourdes Alvarado
for assisting us in the eld work; and Ivany Argueta of
Fundación Cuero y Salado (FUCSA) for allowing us to
carry out research inside the refuge and providing us
transport to sampling points. Thanks also go to David
King, José Mario Solís, Jeffrey Larkin Sr., and Vicente
Mata-Silva for their valuable comments, and Josue
Ramos for his ideas about enriching this manuscript.
Special thanks to Emmanuel Orellana Murillo for
his help with conrming the pattern and scale data
on the holotype. Thanks also to Tania López for the
identication of plants found at the type locality from
the photographs, and Carlos Andino of UNAH-VS for
supporting us with the logistics of the eld trips. The new
species holotype (UVS-V 1189) was collected under the
permission of collection Resolución DE-MP-067-2018
and Dictamen DVS-008-2018 of Instituto Nacional de
Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal, Areas Protegidas
y Vida Silvestre (ICF). CAAF would like to thank
Lorely Molinares for her many expressions of support,
patience, and affection, especially in connection
with this paper. Work by JHT on this manuscript was
completed while on sabbatical as a Fulbright Scholar
and Visiting Professor at the Centro Zamorano de
Biodiversidad, and JHT would like to thank Timothy
Moerland, Deanne Snavely, N. Bharathan, Erika
Tenorio, Oliver Komar, and Eric Van De Berghe for
their support. We are indebted also to Louis W. Porras
for his extensive, incisive, and insightful comments on
this paper. Lastly, we wish to thank the two reviewers
of this paper, Vicente Mata-Silva and Javier Sunyer
MacLennan, for their superb work, which signicantly
improved the manuscript.
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Antúnez-Fonseca et al.
Revised Key to Members of Tantilla taeniata Group
Townsend et al. (2013) published the most recent key to the members of the Tantilla taeniata group. Since that paper appeared,
several new species have been described and placed in this group (Batista et al. 2016; McCranie et al. 2017; and herein), so this is
an opportune time to revise the key for the identication of 25 of the 26 species now recognized (the information available on T.
trilineata remains insufcient to include this poorly known taxon in the key; see Tables 1 and 2).
1. Pale middorsal stripe absent…………………………………………………………………………………………2
Pale middorsal stripe present, variously developed…………………………………………………………………6
2. Pale lateral stripe present along length of body…………………………............……………..……………3
Pale lateral stripe interrupted along middle of body, present only on anterior portion of body, or absent...4
3. Pale nuchal band divided middorsally and laterally, pale lateral stripe well developed... T. jani (in part)
Pale nuchal band complete; pale lateral stripe barely discernible……………………………..T. cuniculator
4. Pale lateral stripe present but interrupted along middle of body………………………………...T. briggsi
Pale lateral stripe, if present, conned to anterior portion of body………………………………………………5
5. Pale nuchal band poorly developed, conned to scale posterior to parietals; subcaudals fewer than 60 (known
range, 44–51)…………………………………………………………………………………………T. tayrae (in part)
Pale nuchal band well developed, extending onto parietals; subcaudals more than 60 (single
known value, 62)…………………………………………………………………………………………….T. johnsoni
6. Subcaudals fewer than 30 (known range, 21–26)……………………………………………...T. brevicauda
Subcaudals more than 30………………………………………………………………………………………………7
7. Pale lateral stripe occupies rows 4 and adjacent halves of rows 3 and 5…….…………..………….8
Pale lateral stripe occupies adjacent halves of rows 3 and 4 or restricted to row 4……………………......…11
8. Pale nuchal collar does not cross last supralabial………………………………………………...T. oaxacae
Pale nuchal collar crosses last supralabial……….…………………………………………………………………….9
9. Pale nuchal collar divided medially; well-developed dark stripe present on lateral edges of
ventrals…………………………………………………………………..…………………………………. .T reticulata
Pale nuchal collar complete; venter essentially immaculate…………………………………………………10
10. Pale middorsal stripe conned to middorsal scale row; subcaudals 65 (single known
value)………………………………………………………………………………………………………. .T. berguidoi
Pale middorsal stripe occupies middorsal scale row and adjacent halves of paravertebral rows; subcaudals 56
or fewer (known range, 43–56)……………………….……………………………………….......T. avilineata
11. Pale nuchal band reduced to two nuchal spots………………………………………………………….T. striata
Pale nuchal band complete, divided medially, or divided both medially and laterally …………………………...12
12. Pale middorsal stripe on middorsal scale row and some portion of paravertebral rows at least on posterior portion
of body………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ..13
Pale middorsal stripe conned to middorsal scale row, or on middorsal scale row and some portion of
paravertebral rows on anterior portion of body, continuing on or reducing to middorsal row on posterior portion
of body……………………………………………………………..............................................………………..…..19
13. Pale middorsal stripe conned to middorsal scale row anteriorly, expanding to some portion of paravertebral
rows posteriorly………………………………………………………………………………………………………..14
Pale middorsal stripe on middorsal scale row and some portion of paravertebral rows along length
of body…………………………….....………………………………………………………………………………..15
14. Lower half to two-thirds of paraventral scale row colored similarly to ventrals….......T. stenigrammi
Paraventral scale row pigmented on anterior half or more of trunk, upper half of scale darkly pigmented
thereafter…………………………………………………......…………………………………………… .T. triseriata
15. Ventral surface some shade of red……………………...……………………………………………………...16
Ventral surface yellow or white…………………….……………………………………..………………………17
16. Ventral scales 153 or more (range 153–163)………………………………...….……………………T. psittaca
Ventral scales 152 or fewer (range 141–152)…………………………….…………………………………T. taeniata
17. Pale nuchal collar divided………………………………………………...…..………………………T. tritaeniata
Pale nuchal collar complete……………………………………………………….…………………………………18
18. Ventrals 142–158 in both sexes combined………………………………...………………………………T. gottei
Ventrals 161–178 in both sexes combined…………………………………..……………………………T. excelsa
19. Pale middorsal stripe on middorsal scale row and adjacent one-third of paravertebral rows on
anterior portion of body, reducing to middorsal row on posterior portion of body……………T. lydia
Pale middorsal stripe conned to middorsal scale row, either as continuous stripe or as fragmented series
of spots………………………………………………………..…………...……..……………………………………20
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
20. Pale middorsal stripe fragmented, consisting of series of isolated spots………...…………………………21
Pale middorsal stripe complete, but conned to middorsal row….…………………....….…………………………24
21. Pale lateral stripe consisting of series of spots on dorsal scale row 4…….......……………………………T. olympia
Pale lateral stripe absent or present on some portion of dorsal scale rows 3 and 4…………..………………22
22. Pale lateral stripe absent or barely evident on adjacent halves of dorsal scale rows 3 and 4 on anterior portion
of body…….......……………………………………………………………………………………T. tayrae (in part)
Pale lateral stripe present on adjacent portions of dorsal scale rows 3 and 4 length of body..….……………….23
23. Pale nuchal band interrupted both dorsally and laterally…………………………………………………….T. jani
Pale nuchal band usually complete.…………………………………………………………………….……T. vulcani
24. Paraventral scale uniformly brown.…………………………………...……………………………………T. tecta
Paraventral scale divided into dark upper half and pale lower half………….…………...………………………25
25. Subcaudal scales 56 or fewer (range 52–56)…………………………………………………………….T. slavensi
Subcaudal scales 64 or more (combined range 64–72)…………………………………..…………………………26
26. Ventral scales 157 or fewer (range 153–157)…………..…………………………………….…...T. hendersoni
Ventral scales 162 or more (range 162–172)………………………………………………………...…...T. impensa
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Cristopher A. Antúnez-Fonseca is a herpetologist from Tegucigalpa, Francisco Morazán, Honduras.
His focus is on the diversity, distribution, systematics, ecology, natural history, and venomics of the
Honduran herpetofauna. Christopher obtained his B.Sc. in Biology from the Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de Honduras, has worked as a Technical Assistant in herpetology at the Universidad
Nacional Autónoma de Honduras of Valle de Sula (UNAH-VS), and is currently a Research
Associate in herpetology at the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana Zamorano (EAP). Cristopher is the
author or co-author of four peer-reviewed articles primarily on herpetology, including recent papers
on new records for two species of the genus Tantilla.
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A new species of Tantilla from Honduras
Jocelyn A. Castro is a student of biology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. She is
a co-author of a recent scientic publication which includes the description of the rst known juvenile
specimen of Diploglossus scansorius from a new locality in north-central Honduras. Jocelyn has research
interests in snake venoms, and the behavior, ecology, systematics, and taxonomy of the Honduran
herpetofauna.
Farlem G. España has a B.Sc. in Biology from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras,
and is a Researcher at the Mesoamerican Development Institute, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA. Farlem’s
major research interests are in the zoology and ecology of organisms, and he is dedicated to investigating
diverse fauna in protected natural areas and in intervened systems with a greater focus on mammals and
their interactions, as well as the geographic dispersion of organisms in different habitats.
Josiah H. Townsend is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at Indiana University
of Pennsylvania, and a Research Associate of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, USA) and Centro Zamorano de Biodiversidad (Francisco Morazán, Honduras). He
received his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Master’s degree in Latin American
Studies, and Doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida (Gainesville,
Florida, USA), and has been a faculty member at Indiana University of Pennsylvania since 2012. Josiah
spent the 20192020 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar in the Centro Zamorano de Biodiversidad and
the Departamento de Ambiente y Desarrollo at Escuela Agrícola Panamericana Zamorano, Honduras,
and is continuing there as a Visiting Professor during the COVID-19 quarantine. His research focuses on
the systematics, evolution, and conservation of the northern Central American herpetofauna, and he has
co-authored 129 scientic papers and notes to date, including the descriptions of 24 recognized species
of amphibians and reptiles, as well as two books. In addition, he co-edited the book Conservation of
Mesoamerican Amphibians and Reptiles.
Larry David Wilson is a herpetologist with lengthy experience in Mesoamerica. He was born in
Taylorville, Illinois, USA, and received his university education at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois,
the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (B.S. degree), and at Louisiana State University in Baton
Rouge (M.S. and Ph.D. degrees). He has authored or co-authored 430 peer-reviewed papers and books
on herpetology, including many recent papers on the EVS system and assessments of the herpetofauna
of several individual states (and regions) of Mexico. Larry is the Senior Editor of Conservation of
Mesoamerican Amphibians and Reptiles and a co-author of eight of its chapters. His other books include
The Snakes of Honduras, Middle American Herpetology, The Amphibians of Honduras, Amphibians &
Reptiles of the Bay Islands and Cayos Cochinos, Honduras, The Amphibians and Reptiles of the Honduran
Mosquitia, and Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Cusuco National Park, Honduras. To date, he has
authored or co-authored the descriptions of 74 currently recognized herpetofaunal species, and seven
species have been named in his honor, including the anuran Craugastor lauraster, the lizard Norops
wilsoni, and the snakes Oxybelis wilsoni, Myriopholis wilsoni, and Cerrophidion wilsoni. Currently,
Larry is Co-chair of the Taxonomic Board for the journal Mesoamerican Herpetology.
... The genus Tantilla Baird & Girard, 1853 belongs to the family Colubridae and is the third most speciose genus in the family (67 species; Antúnez-Fonseca et al. 2020). Mexico, where 30 Tantilla species occur, is a center of diversification of these snakes (Wilson and Mata-Silva, 2014). ...
... Mexico, where 30 Tantilla species occur, is a center of diversification of these snakes (Wilson and Mata-Silva, 2014). The taeniata group includes 26 species and has the highest diversity of any group within Tantilla (Antúnez-Fonseca et al. 2020). The taeniata group is characterized, according to McCranie and Smith (2017: 338), by "the possession of dark dorsal surfaces with pale middorsal and lateral stripes, and by having a pale nuchal collar. ...
... Those stripes are occasionally reduced to dashes or dots in a few species, and the nuchal collar is complete, incomplete, or reduced in a few species." The snakes of the taeniata group are distributed from Oaxaca, Mexico, to northwestern Colombia, with 11 species inhabiting Mexico (Antúnez-Fonseca et al. 2020). ...
Full-text available
Article
We record Tantilla flavilineata Smith & Burger, 1950, for the first time in the state of Puebla, Mexico. It was previously considered endemic to a small region of the state of Oaxaca. With this record, we extend the known distribution 100 km north-northwestward in a straight line. We also provide scales counts and description of the coloration in life of a female specimen. The geographic distribution of T. flavilineata appears to be restricted to mid-elevations in various oak woodlands which have been limited in area by agriculture. More information on its natural history, ecology, and geographic distribution is needed to develop conservation strategies for this rare snake.
... Snakes in the genus Tantilla are one such clade of RFS that are known to produce venom, but the composition of their venom remains almost completely unknown [27,[49][50][51][52][53]. The genus includes 67 species of small-bodied (most <25 cm total length), semi-fossorial, opisthoglyphous colubrids distributed across North and Central America [48,54,55]. Although natural history data is lacking for many species due to their cryptic nature, Tantilla are broadly considered to primarily consume arthropods, including potentially dangerous prey items such as centipedes, scorpions, and spiders [51,[56][57][58]. ...
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The venoms of small rear-fanged snakes (RFS) remain largely unexplored, despite increased recognition of their importance in understanding venom evolution more broadly. Sequencing the transcriptome of venom-producing glands has greatly increased the ability of researchers to examine and characterize the toxin repertoire of small taxa with low venom yields. Here, we use RNA-seq to characterize the Duvernoy’s gland transcriptome of the Plains Black-headed Snake, Tantilla nigriceps, a small, semi-fossorial colubrid that feeds on a variety of potentially dangerous arthropods including centipedes and spiders. We generated transcriptomes of six individuals from three localities in order to both characterize the toxin expression of this species for the first time, and to look for initial evidence of venom variation in the species. Three toxin families—three-finger neurotoxins (3FTxs), cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs), and snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPIIIs)—dominated the transcriptome of T. nigriceps; 3FTx themselves were the dominant toxin family in most individuals, accounting for as much as 86.4% of an individual’s toxin expression. Variation in toxin expression between individuals was also noted, with two specimens exhibiting higher relative expression of c-type lectins than any other sample (8.7–11.9% compared to <1%), and another expressed CRISPs higher than any other toxin. This study provides the first Duvernoy’s gland transcriptomes of any species of Tantilla, and one of the few transcriptomic studies of RFS not predicated on a single individual. This initial characterization demonstrates the need for further study of toxin expression variation in this species, as well as the need for further exploration of small RFS venoms.
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Global amphibian population decline is one of the better documented symptoms of biodiversity loss on our planet, and one of the environmental super-problems humans have created. Most people believe that we should manage nature for our benefit, instead of understanding that we are part of the natural world and depend on it for our survival. As a consequence, humans keep unraveling Earth’s life-support systems, and to reverse this trend must begin to develop a sustainable existence. Given this reality, we examine the conservation status of the 378 species of amphibians in Mexico, by using the Environmental Vulnerability Score (EVS) algorithm. We summarize and critique the IUCN Red List Assessments for these creatures, calculate their EVS, and compare the results of both conservation assessments. We also compare the EVS for Mexican amphibians with those recently reported for Mexican reptiles, and conclude that both groups are highly imperiled, especially the salamanders, lizards, and turtles. The response of humans to these global imperatives has been lackluster, even though biological scientists worldwide have called attention to the grave prospects for the survival of life on our planet. As part of the global community, Mexico must realize the effects of these developments and the rapid, comprehensive need to conserve the country’s hugely significant herpetofauna. Based on this objective, we provide five broad-based recommendations.
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Cochranella spinosa and Mesaspis moreletii are reported for the fi rst time in Nicaragua. Additional localities in Nicaragua are reported for several poorly documented species, including Rhinophrynus dorsalis, Scinax boulengeri, Mesoscincus managuae, Norops carpenteri, Norops tropidonotus, Rhadinaea kinkelini and Tantilla taeniata. Brief ecological fi eld notes are included.
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The endemic herpetofauna of Central America is of global significance, and currently consists of 623 species, 56.9% of a total herpetofauna of 1,095 species. During the last two years 43 endemic species have been added to this total, and one species has been deleted. The endemic herpetofauna of Central America is distributed unevenly among 10 physiographic regions, ranging from six species in the Yucatan Platform to 254 in the Isthmian Central American highlands. The distributions of close to three quarters of the 623 species are limited to a single physiographic region, and our assessment of their conservation status indicates that about nine-tenths of these species lie within the high vulnerability range of the Environmental Vulnerability Score (EVS). We prioritized the conservation significance of the Central American species by combining the data on physiographic distribution with those of the EVS and recognize 14 priority levels. About eight of every 10 endemic species occupy the first two priority levels, i.e., high vulnerability species limited to one or two physiographic regions. Protecting the endemic component of the Central American herpetofauna is the greatest challenge currently facing conservation professionals working in this region. We conclude that this goal will not be reached until humanity, in general, addresses the issues generated by the widespread adoption of the anthropocentric worldview.
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Life on Earth exists due to the interactions among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Humans, however, have created and are faced with the consequences of an interrelated set of problems that impact all of these spheres, including the biosphere. The decline in the diversity of life is a problem of global dimensions resulting from a sixth mass extinction episode created by humans. Endangerment of the herpetofauna has resulted from (1) habitat destruction, alteration, and fragmentation, (2) introduced invasive species, (3) unsustainable use, (4) pollution, (5) disease, and (6) climate change, of which the most serious cause is the first. In this study, we examined the conservation needs of the 789 endemic members of the Mexican herpetofauna, which comprise 61.1% of the herpetofauna of the country. We documented the occurrence of these members among 14 physiographic regions, and identified the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Sierra Madre del Sur, the Meseta Central, the Pacific lowlands from Sonora to western Chiapas (including the Balsas Basin and the Central Depression of Chiapas), and the Sierra Madre Occidental as the five most critical areas of endemism. Individual species occupy from one to eight of the 14 regions, although the largest proportion of species (69.3%) are restricted to single regions. We devised a metric for prioritizing the 789 endemics by combining their EVS values with their physiographic regional occupancy, which resulted in 18 priority levels. The largest proportion of species (490; 62.1%) is allocated to priority level one, and the next largest (101; 12.8%) to priority level two. We posit that this system of conservation priority levels can provide a gauge for evaluating the degree of attention allocated to various endemic herpetofaunal species in future conservation planning. Conservation plans need to proceed as rapidly possible, however, because the human population in Mexico is scheduled to double in the next half-century, which will bring significant environmental threats. We predict that these threats will affect the Mexican endemic species approximately in accordance to the order of their conservation priority status, thereby placing this globally significant herpetofauna in extreme peril. Solutions to the plethora of anthropogenic environmental problems only will come about if humanity is able to build a sustainable society that considers the perpetual needs of the remaining planetary life. We believe this goal is reachable, but only if it occurs within a sufficient time frame and entails a paradigm shift in human attitudes and actions based on reforming universal education.
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We describe three new species of centipede-eating snakes in the Tantilla taeniata species group. These new species come from the vicinities of three river drainage valleys in Honduras. One of the new species has a narrow vertebral stripe and comes from foothills of Sierra de Botaderos and Sierra de Agalta, on both sides of the lower drainage of the Río Sico Tinto in the Agalta Valley. A second species, with a relatively high number of ventral scales, inhabits lowlands and foothills near the Río Ulúa drainage valley, from Lago de Yojoa, Cortés, to northwestern Atlántida. The third new species, with a relatively low number of ventral scales, inhabits the upper and middle drainage system in the vicinity of the Río Choluteca, from near Danlí, El Paraíso, to Tegucigalpa, Francisco Morazán. All three species can easily be distinguished morphologically from other members of the genus, and in particular from other members of the T. taeniata group.