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Alsophis antillensis (SCHLEGEL, 1837)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Alsophiini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Guadeloupe Racer, Antilles Racer, Leeward Racer 
SynonymPsammophis antillensis SCHLEGEL 1837: 214
Dromicus leucomelas DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 666
Dromicus Antillensis — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 659
Alsophis antillensis — GARMAN 1887: 282
Dromicus antillensis — BOULENGER 1894: 123
Dromicus leucomelas — BOULENGER 1894: 123
Alsophis antillensis — BARBOUR 1917
Alsophis antillensis — GRANT 1932
Alsophis leucomelas leucomelas — PARKER 1933: 156
Alsophis leucomelas leucomelas — PARKER 1936: 228
Alsophis antillensis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 566
Alsophis antillensis — CROTHER 1999
Alsophis antillensis — HEDGES et al. 2009
Alsophis antillensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 24 
DistributionGuadeloupe, Marie-Galante; Virgin Gorda (Barbour 1917)

Type locality: Guadeloupe.  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 3547 (fide Wallach et al. 2014). MNHN-RA 3548, sometimes cited as syntype, considered as type of Alsophis sanctaecrucis.
Syntypes: MNHN-RA 3555 and 3556 (Variety A); MNHN 3554, 3558 and 1994.0761 (Variety B), USNM 416 [Dromicus leucomelas] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Species in this genus have 19–23 midbody scale rows, 184–220 ventrals, 94–138 subcaudals, two apical scale pits, eight upper labials, 10 lower labials, 18–21 maxillary teeth, and 21–26 dentary teeth (Table 2). Alsophis differs in at least one of these characters from all alsophiine genera except Borikenophis and Hypsirhynchus. Alsophis differs almost completely from Hypsirhynchus in ventrals (184–220 versus 123–189 in Hypsirhynchus). It differs from most Borikenophis (163–187), except for B. sanctaecrucis (191–198), in having a higher number of ventrals (184–220) (Hedges et al 2009: 13). 
CommentSynonymy: The co-types of Psammophis antillensis SCHLEGEL 1837 represented 3 species; Brongersma 1937 selected the Guadeloupe specimen as lectotype.
Alsophis antillensis sanctonum and Alsophis antillensis danforthi have been elevated to species status and re-assigned, respectively. See entry for A. sanctonum.

Distribution: reported from Puerto Rico by Stejneger 1904: 704 but apparently this population has been re-assigned to another species.

Illustrations see Henderson and Sajdak, 1986.

Type species: Psammophis antillensis SCHLEGEL 1837 is the type species of the genus Alsophis FITZINGER 1843. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality in the Antilles. 
  • Barbour, T. 1917. Notes on the herpetology of the Virgin Islands. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 30: 97-103. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - get paper here
  • Breuil, H. 2002. Histoire Naturelle des Amphibiens et Reptiles de l’Archipel Guadeloupéen: Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy. Patrimoines naturels 54: 339 pp.
  • Cochran, D. M. 1938. Reptiles and amphibians from the Lesser Antilles collected by Dr. S. T. Danforth. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 51:147-155. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1879. Eleventh contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 18: 261-277. - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M.C., G. BIBRON & A.H.A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 7 (partie 1). Paris, xvi + 780 S. - get paper here
  • Fowler, H. W. 1918. Some amphibians and reptiles from Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Publ. Carnegie Inst. Washington, 252: 1-16.
  • Garman, S. 1887. On West Indian reptiles in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, Mass. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 24: 278-286. - get paper here
  • Grant, C. 1932. The genus Alsophis in the Puerto Rico area,. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 16: 149-151
  • Grant, C. 1946. A new name for Alsophis antillensis. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 30 (2): 118-125
  • Guibé, J. & Roux-Estève, R. 1972. Les types de Schlegel (Ophidiens) présents dans les collections du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris. Zoologische Mededelingen 47: 129-134 - get paper here
  • Henderson, R.W., and Sajdak, R.A. 1986. West Indian racers: disappearing act or a second chance? Lore (Milwaukee Public Museum) 36(3):13-18.
  • Malhotra, A. & Thorpe, R.S. 1999. Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean. MacMillan, London & Oxford
  • Malhotra, Anita; Thorpe, Roger S.; Hypolite, Eric; James, Arlington. 2007. A report on the status of the herpetofauna of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Applied Herpetology 4 (2):177-194 - 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
  • Schlegel, H. 1837. Essai sur la physionomie des serpens. Partie Descriptive. La Haye (J. Kips, J. HZ. et W. P. van Stockum), 606 S. + xvi - 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.
  • White, Lauren A. and Peter J. Muelleman. 2008. Juvenile pattern and ontogenetic pattern changes in Dominican Racers. Iguana 15 (3):157-159
  • Zaher, Hussam; Grazziotin, Felipe Gobbi; Cadle, John E.; Murphy, Robert W.; Moura-Leite, Julio Cesar de; Bonatto, Sandro L 2009. Molecular phylogeny of advanced snakes (Serpentes, Caenophidia) with an emphasis on South American Xenodontines: a revised classification and descriptions of new taxa. Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo) 49 (11): 115-153 - get paper here
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