A new moth-preying alpine pit viper species from Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (Viperidae, Crotalinae). Supplementary Material
2017-11-17T13:25:00Z (GMT) by
The Sanjiangyuan region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot of alpine mammals but a barren area in terms of amphibians and reptiles. Here, we describe a new pit viper species, <i>Gloydius rubromaculatus </i>sp. n. Shi, Li and Liu, 2017 that was discovered in this region, with a brief taxonomic revision of the genus <i>Gloydius</i>. The new species can be distinguished from the other congeneric species by the following characteristics: cardinal crossbands on the back, indistinct canthus rostralis, glossy dorsal scales, colubrid-like oval head shape, irregular small black spots on the head scales, black eyes and high altitude distribution (3300-4770 m above sea level). The mitochondrial phylogenetic reconstruction supported the validity of the new species and furthermore reaffirms that <i>G. intermedius changdaoensis</i>, <i>G. halys cognatus</i>, <i>G. h. caraganus </i>and <i>G. h. stejnegeri </i>should be elevated as full species. <i>Gloydius rubromaculatus </i>sp. n. was found to be insectivorous: preying on moths (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, <i>Sideridis </i>sp.) in the wild. This unusual diet may be one of the key factors to the survival of this species in such a harsh alpine environment.