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Title: Additions to the phylogeny of colubrine snakes in Southwestern Asia, with description of a new genus and species (Serpentes: Colubridae: Colubrinae)

Reptiles are still being described worldwide at a pace of hundreds of species a year. While many discoveries are from remote tropical areas, biodiverse arid regions still harbor many novel taxa. Here, we present an updated phylogeny of colubrid snakes from the Western Palearctic by analyzing a supermatrix of all available global snake species with molecular data and report on the discovery of a new genus and species of colubrine snake from southeastern Iran. The new taxon, namedPersiophis fahimiiGen. et sp. nov., is nested within a clade containing Middle Eastern and South Asian ground racers (Lytorhynchus,Rhynchocalamus, Wallaceophis, andWallophis). This species has a derived morphology including an edentulous pterygoid and occurrence of short and blunt teeth on the palatine, maxillae and dentary bones, an elongated snout and a relatively trihedral first supralabial scale that is slightly bigger than the second, and elongated toward the tip of rostral. We also report on the osteology and phylogenetic placement of several poorly studied colubrines:Hierophis andreanus(reassigned toDolichophis) andMuhtarophis barani.

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Article No. e9016
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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