Atractus caete, Passos & Fernandes & Bérnils & De Moura-Leite, 2010

Passos, Paulo, Fernandes, Ronaldo, Bérnils, Renato S. & De Moura-Leite, Julio C., 2010, Taxonomic revision of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest Atractus (Reptilia: Serpentes: Dipsadidae) 2364, Zootaxa 2364 (1), pp. 1-63: 7-9

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.2364.1.1

persistent identifier

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scientific name

Atractus caete

sp. nov.

Atractus caete   sp. nov.

Figs. 1 View FIGURE 1 , 2A View FIGURE 2 , 3A–B View FIGURE 3

Holotype: Adult female, MNRJ 16936 View Materials (formerly IVB 2983 View Materials ), collected on 1986 by A. R. Melgarejo , municipality of Quebrângulo (09°19’S, 36°28’W, ca. 360 m), state of Alagoas, Brazil. GoogleMaps  

Diagnosis: Atractus caete   is distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) 17/17/17 smooth dorsal scale rows; (2) two postoculars; (3) long loreal; (4) temporals 1+2; (5) usually six supralabials, third and fourth contacting orbit; (6) seven infralabials, first four contacting chinshields; (7) seven maxillary teeth; (8) three gular scale rows; (9) four preventrals; (10) 160 ventrals in the single female; (11) 16?–19 subcaudals; (12) dorsum uniformly black; (13) venter beige anteriorly, becoming gradually brown from the 15 th ventral in adults, and cream marked with brown laterally in sub-adults; (14) moderate body size, female reaching 376 mm SVL; (15) small tail size on female (8.5% SVL).

Comparisons: Among all congeners, A. caete   shares 17 dorsal scale rows, dorsal colour pattern uniformly black, and at least the posterior region of the venter of adults dark brown with posterior margin of ventral scales having pale (beige) pigmentation only with A. duidensis   , A. serranus   , A. steyermarki   , and A. trihedrurus   . Atractus caete   differs from these four species by having six supralabials and seven maxillary teeth (vs. seven supralabials in A. serranus   , A. steyermarki   , and A. trihedrurus   , five maxillary teeth in A. steyermarki   and eight to ten in A. duidensis   , A. serranus   , and A. trihedrurus   ).

Regarding sympatric or parapatric species, A. caete   differs from A. maculatus   and A. potschi   by having dorsum uniformly black in juveniles and adults, belly with lateral margins of ventrals marked with brown in juveniles and almost uniform brown in adults, and six supralabials (vs. dorsal ground colour cream with black transversal bands, blotches, or dots in juveniles and adults, venter uniformly creamish white, and seven supralabials in both species). Atractus caete   is somewhat similar to the central Brazilian A. albuquerquei   and A. edioi   , in which the supralabials are reduced to five or six (apparently by fusion of the third and fourth scales), the dorsum mostly brown or black, and having three gular scale rows. However, the new species differs from both by having 17 dorsal scale rows, seven infralabials with first four contacting chinshields, single postdiastemal tooth, and lateral maxillary process poorly developed (vs. 15 dorsals, six infralabials with first three contacting chinshields, two postdiastemal teeth in both species, and lateral process moderately developed in A. edioi   and well developed in A. albuquerquei   ).

Description of the holotype: Adult female, SVL 376 mm, CL 32 mm (8.5% SVL); body diameter 6.4 mm (1.7 % SVL); head length 13.4 mm (3.6% SVL); head width 6.3 mm (47% head length); interorbital distance 4.5 mm; rostro-orbital distance 4.1 mm (90% interorbital distance); naso-orbital distance 3.2 mm; cervical constriction barely distinct; head slightly arched in lateral view, round in dorsal view; snout truncate in lateral view, round in dorsal view; rostral sub-triangular in frontal view, 2.0 mm wide, 1.1 mm high, barely visible in dorsal view; internasal 0.8 mm long, as long as wide; internasal suture sinistral with respect to prefrontal suture; prefrontal 3.0 mm long, 2.6 mm wide; supraocular sub-trapezoidal, 1.0 mm long, about as long as wide; frontal triangular, 3.1 mm long, 3.8 mm wide; parietal 4.6 mm long, twice as long as wide; nasal divided; nostril located between prenasal and postnasal; postnasal 0.8 mm high, twice higher than long; loreal 2.6 mm long, 0.6 mm high, contacting second and third supralabials; eye diameter 1.2 mm; pupil subelliptical; two postoculars; upper postocular slightly higher (0.5 mm) and longer (0.4 mm) than lower postocular; temporals 1+2; anterior temporal 2.1 mm long, twice as long as high; upper posterior temporal elongate (3.6 mm), three times longer than wide; six supralabials, third and fourth contacting orbit; second supralabial higher than first and lower than third; sixth supralabial higher and longer than remaining supralabials; symphisial triangular, 1.9 mm wide, about three times broader than long; seven infralabials, first four contacting chinshields; first pair of infralabials in contact behind symphisial, preventing symphisial/chinshield contact; chinshields 3.7 mm long, about three times longer than wide; three gular scale rows; four preventrals; 160 ventrals; 19 (left side) and 20 (right side) subcaudals; 17/17/17 smooth dorsal scale rows; dorsals lacking apical pits, supra-anal tubercles, and keels; midbody diameter 5.7 mm; 10 dorsal scale rows at the level of second subcaudal; anal gland four subcaudals long; caudal spine short, robust, and rhomboid ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 ).

Maxillary arch: Arched in dorsal view, with six prediastemal and one postdiastemal teeth; prediastemal teeth large, well spaced, of similar size, curved posteriorly, angular in cross section, robust at base, narrower on the apices; maxillary diastema moderately long; postdiastemal teeth half size of prediastemal teeth; lateral process of maxilla poorly developed, lacking posterior projections.

Colour in preservative: Dorsum of head dark brown, except for pale brown spots on distal portion of prefrontals; head dark brown, except for irregular pale brown dots covering anterior portion of loreal and fourth to sixth supralabials; head uniformly black; symphisial and first three infralabials spotted with brown, remaining infralabials, chinshields, and preventrals beige; gulars with dark brown dots; venter uniform beige anteriorly, with brown blotches on lateral portions of ventrals from 15 th scale; lateral blotches increase progressively in size, collapsing at the level of 20 th ventral; posterior to this point venter becomes uniform brown, only with posterior ventral margin pale (creamish brown) pigmented; tail brown with beige dots on posterior suture of subcaudals; dorsum of body uniformly dark brown ( Fig. 2A View FIGURE 2 ).

Juvenile colouration in life: An immature female (MUFAL not catalogued) has a distinctive juvenile colouration. Dorsum of head uniformly black; ventral margin of supralabials grayish white; gular region uniformly creamish white; venter mostly creamish white, with lateral margin of ventrals dark brown; tail mostly creamish white, with dark brown pigmentation restricted to subcaudal sutures; first four dorsal scales rows dark brown and remaining seven rows uniformly black ( Fig. 3 View FIGURE 3 A-B).

Etymology: The specific epithet caetê is a Tupi indigenous name, here employed as a noun in apposition alluding to the Atlantic Rainforest remnants (caá = forest; etê = true) where A. caete   was found. The Tupi word caetê is also the denomination for the extinct anthropophagous group of Brazilian Indians native to the region of the type locality. Portuguese colonizers later exterminated the “Caetés” after the natives captured and devoured Dom Pero Fernandes Sardinha, first bishop of Brazil on July 16 1556.

Distribution: Known only from the municipalities of Quebrângulo (09°19’S, 36°28’W) and Chã Preta (09º15’S, 36º18’W), state of Alagoas, Brazil. Atractus caete   apparently inhabits small remnant patches of Submontane Rainforest between 300–500 m elevation ( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 ).

Remarks: In the course of this study we examined photographs of a second known specimen of A. caete   ( Figs. 3 View FIGURE 3 A-B). That individual (MUFAL not catalogued) was collected November 2008 in the municipality of Chã Preta (09º15’S, 36º18’W, ca. 500 m), state of Alagoas, Brazil. Because we had access only to photographs of that specimen we decided to not designate it as paratype of the new species. On the basis of available photographs it is possible to determine that the specimen (probably an immature female) has seven/six (left/right, respectively) supralabials and about 16 subcaudals.


Departamento de Geologia, Universidad de Chile