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We provide a molecular phylogeny of Asian pit vipers (the genus Gloydius) based on four mitochondrial genes (12S, 16S, ND4, and cytb). Sequences of Gloydius himalayanus, the only member of the genus that occurs south of the Himalayan range, are included for the first time. In addition, two new species of the genus Gloydius are described based on specimens collected from Zayu, Tibet, west of the Nujiang River and Heishui, Sichuan, east of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The new species, Gloydius lipipengi sp. nov., can be differentiated from its congeners by the combination of the following characters: the third supralabial not reaching the orbit (separated from it by a suborbital scale); wide, black-bordered greyish postorbital stripe extending from the posterior margin of the orbit (not separated by the postoculars, covering most of the anterior temporal scale) to the ventral surface of the neck; irregular black annular crossbands on the mid-body; 23-21-15 dorsal scales; 165 ventral scales, and 46 subcaudal scales. Gloydius swild sp. nov. can be differentiated from its congeners by the narrower postorbital stripe (only half the width of the anterior temporal scale, the lower edge is approximately straight and bordered with white); a pair of arched stripes on the occiput; lateral body lakes black spots; a pair of round spots on the parietal scales; 21 rows of mid-body dorsal scales; zigzag dark brown stripes on the dorsum; 168–170 ventral scales, and 43–46 subcaudal scales. The molecular phylogeny in this study supports the sister relationship between G. lipipengi sp. nov. and G. rubromaculatus, another recently described species from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, more than 500 km away, and indicate the basal position of G. himalayanus within the genus and relatively distant relationship to its congeners.


  • Asian pit piper, Gloydius himalayanus, Heishui, molecular phylogeny, osteology, Qinghai-Tibet plateau, Zaya
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-108
Number of pages22
Issue number1061
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2021

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