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Alsophis antiguae PARKER, 1933

IUCN Red List - Alsophis antiguae - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Alsophiini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Antiguan racer 
SynonymAlsophis leucomelas antiguae PARKER 1933: 158
Alsophis antiguae — PARKER 1936
Alsophis antiguae sajdaki HENDERSON 1990
Alsophis antiguae — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 565
Alsophis sajdaki — HEDGES et al. 2009
Alsophis sajdaki — WALLACH et al. 2014: 25
Alsophis antiguae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 24 
DistributionCaribbean: Antigua, Barbuda, Great Bird Island

Type locality: Antigua

sajdaki: Type locality: Great Bird Island  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.1.4.46-.47
Holotype: KU 211059 [sajdaki] 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Maximum SVL 660 mm; ventrals 184-201 in males, 185-201 in females; subcaudals 116-126 in males, 101-105 in females; ventrals + subcaudals 301-326 in males, 297-305 in females; dorsal scale rows at midbody 19 (occasionally 21); supralabials 8/8; infralabials usually 10/10; preoculars 1/1 or 2/2; postoculars 2/2; temporals 1+2/1+2; loreals 1/1; frontal long, narrow; dorsal ground color taupe, beige, or tan; dorsal pattern variable: (1) narrow, dark brown lateral stripe extending from eye along sides of body; broader, less defined median stripe with edges encroached upon by double series of subcircular light spots, enlargement and alternation of circular light spots may reduce median 17"38' dark stripe to zigzag stripe (particularly at midbody); anteriorly, lateral and median stripes may not be separated; venter heavily marked with brown or black, more so posteriorly (Antigua); (2) lateral stripes taupe on paler ground color; middorsum with milk-chocolate-brown, amorphous blotches anteriorly, fading by midbody; venter pale taupe (Great Bird I.) (Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 565).

Sexual dimorphism: the color pattern in A. antiguae is highly dimorphic with males having a much more pronounced pattern than females. 
CommentIllustrations: Lazell, 1967; Henderson, 1990.

Conservation: possibly extinct on Antigua but extant on smaller nearby islands, especially since sajdaki has been synonymized back into antiguae.

Synonymy: Alsophis antiguae sajdaki HENDERSON, 1990 has been elevated to full species status but later again synonymized (e.g. Daltry 2011).

NCBI taxonID: 643605 [sajdaki] 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality, Antigua island. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Daltry, Jennifer C. 2007. An introduction to the herpetofauna of Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda, with some conservation recommendations. Applied Herpetology 4 (2): 97-130. - get paper here
  • Hedges, S. Blair; Arnaud Couloux; Vidal, Nicolas 2009. Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of West Indian racer snakes of the Tribe Alsophiini (Squamata, Dipsadidae, Xenodontinae). Zootaxa 2067: 1-28 - get paper here
  • Henderson R W. Powell R. Daltry J C. Day M L. 1996. Alsophis antiguae. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (632): 1-3. - get paper here
  • Henderson, R.W. 1990. A new subspecies of Alsophis antiguae (Parker) from Great Bird Island (Antigua), Lesser Antilles. Carib. J. Sci. 25 (3-4): 119-22 [1989]
  • Lazell, J.D., Jr. 1967. Wiederentdeckung von zwei angeblich ausgestorbenen Schlangenarten der westindischen Inseln. Salamandra 3: 91-97 - get paper here
  • Malhotra, A. & Thorpe, R.S. 1999. Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean. MacMillan, London & Oxford
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Parker, H. W. 1933. Some amphibians and reptiles from the Lesser Antilles. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (10) 11:151-158. - get paper here
  • Parker, H. W. 1936. Some extinct snakes of the West Indies. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 10(18): 227-233 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • 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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