Naja (Boulengerina) guineensis

Wüster, Wolfgang, Chirio, Laurent, Trape, Jean-François, Ineich, Ivan, Jackson, Kate, Greenbaum, Eli, Barron, Cesar, Kusamba, Ch, 2018, Integration of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences and morphology reveals unexpected diversity in the forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) species complex in Central and West Africa (Serpentes, Zootaxa 4455 (1), pp. -1--1: -1

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Naja (Boulengerina) guineensis

sp. nov.

Naja (Boulengerina) guineensis  sp. nov. Broadley, Trape, Chirio, Ineich & Wüster

Naia melanoleuca  (not Hallowell) Boulenger, 1896: 376 (part, var. B [c,d], C).

Naja  sp. 2 cf. melanoleuca Hallowell, 1857  (blackish dorsum) Trape & Baldé, 2014: 318.

Naja  sp. 2 cf. melanoleuca  (forest form). Trape & Baldé, 2014: 336.

Holotype: MNHN 1921.0485, a male from N’Zébéla, Macenta Prefecture, Nzérékoré region of forested southeastern Guinea (8° 05’N, 9° 05’W), elev. 490 m, Coll. Paul Chabanaud (1876–1959) between 1919–1920 (Chabanaud, 1921: 471) ( Fig. 5View FIGURE 5).

Paratype: BMNH 1960.1.3.72, a male from Njala, Kori, Sierra Leone, Coll. C.T. Pyne. 

Diagnosis. Naja guineensis  cAN bE distiNguishEd frOm thE pArtly sympAtric N. savannula  sp. NOv. by lAckiNg ExtENdEd dOrsAl bANdiNg, OftEN hAviNg 17 rAthEr thAN 19 dOrsAl scAlE rOws At midbOdy, A gENErAlly lOwEr subcAudAl scAlE cOuNt, fEwEr vENtrAl bANds, A lEssEr pOstEriOr ExtENt Of thE vENtrAl bANdiNg, ANd A strONg tENdENcy tOwArds mElANism iN Adults. SpEcimENs with 19 midbOdy dOrsAl scAlE rOws cAN bE distiNguishEd frOm N. melanoleuca  thrOugh thE rEducEd NumbEr Of vENtrAl bANds, lEssEr pOstEriOr ExtENt Of bANdiNg ANd tENdENcy Of ONtOgENEtic mElANism frOm N. subfulva  iN lAckiNg A lightEr ANtEriOr dOrsum ANd thrOugh ONtOgENEtic mElANism, ANd frOm N. peroescobari  iN hAviNg thE pOstEriOr chiN shiElds iN cONtAct.

Description of holotype. DimENsiONs: A mAlE spEcimEN with dissEctEd tAil bAsE, sNOut –vENt lENgth 1850 mm, tAil lENgth 370 mm, tOtAl lENgth 2220 mm, rAtiO tOtAl lENgth: tAil lENgth 6:1.

BOdy scAlAtiON: 23 scAlE rOws ArOuNd hOOd, 17 ArOuNd midbOdy, 13 ONE hEAd lENgth AhEAd Of thE vENt, All smOOth ANd ObliquE; 208 vENtrAls, 62 subcAudAls, All dividEd, ANAl siNglE.

HEAd scAlAtiON: 7/7 suprAlAbiAls, 3rd & 4th cONtAct Orbit, 6th lArgEst; 8/8 iNfrAlAbiAls, first 4 cONtAct ANtEriOr chiN shiElds; ANtEriOr pAir Of chiN shiElds ANd iNfrAlAbiAls 3–4 with AN ANOmAly ON bOth sidEs, thEy ArE wArty ANd cOvErEd with circumvOlutiONs; 1/1 prEOculAr, twicE As lONg As high; 3/3 pOstOculArs; 1/1 ANtEriOr tEmpOrAl; pOstEriOr tEmpOrAls 3/3; rOstrAl brOAdEr thAN high ANd slightly dAmAgEd ANtEriOrly, clEArly visiblE frOm AbOvE; 7 tEmpOrAls ANd NuchAls cONtActiNg bOth pAriEtAls.

PAttErN: uppEr sidE Of hEAd ANd uppEr tEmpOrAl rEgiON dArk brOwN iNcludiNg pAriEtAls ANd tEmpOrAls but blAck bEhiNd thEm, lips ANd vENtrAl sidE Of hEAd crEAmy yEllOwish withOut dArk mOttliNg ON chiN ANd ANtEriOr thrOAt; EAch pOstEriOr suprAlAbiAl EdgE brOAdly OutliNEd iN blAck frOm EyE lEvEl tO mOuth cOrNEr; tEmpOrAls uNifOrmly brOwNish. DOrsum uNifOrm brOwNish-blAck thrOughOut. VENtEr: ANtEriOr first 32 cm (14% Of tOtAl lENgth) Of vENtEr with AltErNAtiNg yEllOw ANd blAckish irrEgulAr bANds, thE pOstEriOr yEllOw bANds iNcrEAsiNgly suffusEd with dArk mOttliNg. ONly vENtrAl 1 is uNifOrm clEAr yEllOw, vENtrAls 2–10, 19, 28–29, 32–35 yEllOw but AlwAys iNcrEAsiNgly suffusEd with dArk mOttliNg, rEmAiNiNg vENtrAls ANd uNdErsidE Of tAil blAck (AftEr vENtrAl 35).

Variation. MidbOdy dOrsAl scAlE rOw cOuNts Of 17 ANd 19 ArE ApprOximAtEly EquAlly cOmmON iN this spEciEs. IN lArgE Adults, light pAttErN ElEmENts ON thE hEAd ANd thrOAt OftEN bEcOmE hEAvily suffusEd with blAck pigmENt, lEAdiNg tO A virtuAlly ENtirEly mElANistic sNAkE. SOmE spEcimENs hAvE 1–4 gENErAlly fAiNt Or pOOrly dEfiNEd light bANds AcrOss thE NEck, ANd OccAsiONAlly AN OcEllAtE hOOd mArkiNg.

Largest recorded: 1818+437 = 2255 mm, frOm BAllAssOu, GuiNEA (IRD 4213.G), but lArgEr spEcimENs hAvE bEEN ObsErvEd. BAsEd ON lOcAlity, MENziEs’ (1966) rEpOrt Of A spEcimEN mEAsuriNg “Eight fEEt, Eight iNchEs” (264 cm) frOm BO, SiErrA LEONE, is likEly tO rEfEr tO this spEciEs.

Etymology. ThE spEcific EpithEt guineensis  mEANs “frOm GuiNEA ” ANd is chOsEN tO rEflEct thE distributiON Of thE spEciEs iN thE UppEr GuiNEA fOrEsts Of WEst AfricA, pArt Of thE WEst AfricAN FOrEsts biOdivErsity hOtspOt (MyErs et al., 2000).

Suggested common name. BlAck fOrEst cObrA.

Distribution. ThE distributiON Of Naja guineensis  AppEArs tO bE rEstrictEd tO thE UppEr GuiNEA FOrEsts Of wEstErN AfricA, frOm wEstErN TOgO tO LibEriA ANd GuiNEA ( TrApE & BAldé, 2014) ( Fig. 6View FIGURE 6). ThErE is A siNglE rEcOrd frOm CONtubOEl, GuiNEA BissAu ( MBL 535). All OthEr rEcOrds 10°N Or lOwEr.


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


Museu Nacional de Historia Natural














Naja (Boulengerina) guineensis

Wüster, Wolfgang, Chirio, Laurent, Trape, Jean-François, Ineich, Ivan, Jackson, Kate, Greenbaum, Eli, Barron, Cesar, Kusamba, Ch 2018

Naia melanoleuca

Boulenger, 1896 : 376


Trape & Baldé, 2014 : 318


Trape & Baldé, 2014 : 336