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Adelphicos veraepacis STUART, 1941

IUCN Red List - Adelphicos veraepacis - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Stuart's Burrowing Snake 
SynonymAdelphicos veraepacis STUART 1941: 5
Adelphicos veraepacis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 16
Adelphicos veraepacis — VILLA et al. 1988
Adelphicos veraepacis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 9 

Type locality: Cloud forest above Finca Samac, 7 km west of Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, elevation about 1500 m.  
TypesHolotype: UMMZ 89073, adult male 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A moderately large Adelphicos, females to 461 mm and males to 372 mm total length, possessing a unique combination of characteristics: females may distinguished from all daryi and most A. nigrilatus by having a higher number of ventrals (132-142); males possess 29—41 subcaudals and females have 24—31, distinguishing them from A. daryi and A. latifasciatus which possess fewer and more subcaudals, respectively. The dark brown or gray dorsal coloration can be confused only with A. daryi, but the scales of the first scale row are not light posteroventrally or only slightly so, in contrast to the boldly defined pale spots in A. daryi (Fig. 5). The dorsolateral stripes generally are not continuous and involve no more than the edges of two adjacent scale rows. The anterior edges of the ventrals are darkly pigmented like A. daryi, but there is a heavy concentration of dark pigment midventrally. This species may be distinguished from A. daryi by possessing a relatively larger eye that is contained 1.3—2.6 times in the snout length (Campbell & Ford 1982).

Geographic variation: Snakes from the highlands of Alta and Baja Verapaz are generally dark brown. Specimens may be so dark as to partially obscure the stripes. The lateral stripes usually extend along scale row 2 and the upper and lower parts of scale rows 1 and 3, respectively. In about half of the specimens the lateral stripe extends from the outer edge of the ventrals to the lower half of scale row 3 with only a small amount of or no light coloration on scale row 1, a condition not noted in any specimen from elsewhere. In no snakes from this region does the lateral stripe extend to scale row 4. The paravertebral stripes are invariably broken and located on the upper part of scale row 5 and lower part of scale row 6. Thevertebral stripe is broken in about half of the specimens. The yellow ventrals are heavily pigmented along the midline producing a series of more or less triangularly shaped blotches with their apices produced posteriorly. The subcaudals are mostly dark with no well-defined midstripe. The gular area and chin shields are heavily mottled. The upper one-fourth to one-third of the supralabials is black and dark pigment may extend down the intrasupralabial sutures to the margin of the lip.
Specimens from the Montanas de Cuilco are generally medium to dark brown and are frequently paler in over-all appearance than the snakes from Alta and Baja Verapaz. The lateral stripes are usually located on scale row 2 and the adjacent parts of scale rows 1 and 3 respectively, but in eight of 37 specimens the lateral stripe extends up to the lower part of scale row 4, a condition not present in specimens from other parts of the range. The paravertebral stripes are usually continuous (broken in only one specimen) and variably located on parts of scale rows 5 and 6 (11 specimens), 6 (13), 6 and 7 (7), or 5, 6, and 7(2). The vertebral stripe is unbroken and discernible in all specimens except several that appear to have been darkened by preservative. The ventrals are yellow with dark brown or black outer edges and with little to moderate amounts of pigment along their anterior borders. There is no tendency for darkening along the ventral midline. The subcaudals are pale with black pigment along their inside borders forming a mid-ventral stripe on the tail. The gular area and chin shields are usually immaculate, but a small amount of mottling is occasionally present. Black pigment may barely encroach on the upper part of the supralabials (Campbell & Ford 1982). 
Comment= Rhadinaea veraepacis STUART 1941 ??? (Stuart & Bailey 1941, Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (442): 1-11).

Distribution: Not in Mexico (Not listed in LINER 1994, Liner 2007, Heimes 2016). 
Etymologynamed after its type locality (although Stuart originally wanted to name the species after the President of Guatemala, General Jorge Ubico, who, however, in “his characteristic modesty”, refused and suggested to name it after its locality). 
  • Campbell J A; Brodie E D Jr 1988. A new colubrid snake of the genus Adelphicos from Guatemala. Herpetologica 44 (4): 416-422 - get paper here
  • Campbell J A; Ford L S 1982. Phylogenetic relationships of the colubrid snakes of the genus Adelphicos in the highlands of Middle America. OCCASIONAL PAPERS OF THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS (No. 100): 1-22 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Liner, E.A. 1994. Scientific and common names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. Herpetological Circular 23: 1-113
  • Smith, H.M. 1942. A review of the snake genus Adelphicos. Proc. Rochester Acad. Sci. 8: 175-195 - get paper here
  • Stuart,L.C. 1941. Some new snakes from Guatemala. Occ. Pap. Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan (No. 452): 1-7 - get paper here
  • VITERI, MARTÍN & CRISTINA ARRIVILLAGA 2019. Arboreal behaviour in the Stuart’s burrowing snake Adelphicos veraepacis (Dipsadinae) in Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. Herpetological Bulletin 147: - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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