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Amastridium veliferum COPE, 1861

IUCN Red List - Amastridium veliferum - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Rufous-headed snake, Rustyhead Snake 
SynonymAmastridium veliferum COPE 1861: 370
Fleischmannia obscura BOETTGER 1898: 69
Phrydops melas BOULENGER 1905: 454
Phydrops [sic] melas — DUNN 1931: 163
Amastridium veliferum — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 18
Amastridium veliferum — LINER 1994
Amastridium veliferum — SAVAGE 2002
Amastridium veliferum — WALLACH et al. 2014: 24
Amastridium veliferum — CALZADA-ARCINIEGA & TOSCANO-FLORES 2014 
DistributionS Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama (IUCN)

Type locality: Cocuyas de Veraguas, N. Grenada (= Cocuyas, Panama)  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 3738 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus) A genus (two species) differing in morphology from generalized colubrids in having a distinct canthal ridge and moderately long tail (25 to 32 % of total length). Other defining features include the basic colubrid complement of head shields; nasal completely divided; a loreal that may be fused with postnasal; a single preocular; pupil round; two pairs of chin shields; dorsal scales 17-17-17, smooth, with two apical pits on scales in nuchal region; keels present on supracloacal scales in adult males; anal and subcaudals divided; maxillary teeth 11 to 7 plus two enlarged fangs that may be grooved or not and separated from the subequal anterior teeth by a diastema; Duvernoy's gland probably present; mandibular teeth subequal; hypapophyses present on posterior dorsal vertebrae. The absence of a loreal, the presence of 17 scale rows at midbody, and the canthal ridge distinguish the genus from others in Costa Rica (although members of the genus from northern areas of Central America and Mexico have a loreal) (Savage 2002: 583).

DIAGNOSIS: Any moderate to small unstriped, dark gray to black snake with a distinct rusty colored head will be readily identified as this species (Savage 2002: 583).

SIMILAR SPECIES (Costa Rica): (1) Geophis hoffmanni and G. zeledoni lack the rust-colored head and nape and white spots on the throat and dorsum (Savage 2002: 583). 
CommentSynonymy: after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970.

Distribution: Not listed for San Luis Potosí by Lemos-Espinal et al. 2018 (checklist SLP). Not listed in Liner 2007. Note that A. sapperi has been split off from this species.

Type species: Amastridium veliferum COPE 1860 is the type species of the genus Amastridium COPE 1860. 
  • Blair, W. E. 1978. Additional specimens of Amastridium veliferum Cope (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Chiapas, México. Southwestern Naturalist 23: 692. - get paper here
  • Boettger, O. 1898. Katalog der Reptilien-Sammlung im Museum der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Frankfurt/M. 2.Teil (Schlangen). [type catalogue] Frankfurt/M (Gebr. Knauer), i-ix + 1-160. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1905. Descriptions of new snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (7) 15 (89): 453-456 - get paper here
  • Calzada-Arciniega, R.A. 2014. First record for the states of San Luis Potosí and Querétaro, Mexico of Rusty-Headed Snake Amastridium veliferum (Serpentes: Colubridae) Bull. Maryland Herpetol. Soc., 50(1-2): 42-43. - get paper here
  • Campbell, J.A. 1998. Amphibians and reptiles of northern Guatemala, the Yucatán, and Belize. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, xiii + 380 pp. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1861. Descriptions of reptiles from tropical America and Asia. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 1860: 368-374 - get paper here
  • Dunn, E. R. 1924. Amastridium - a neglected genus of snakes. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 65 (11): 1-3. - get paper here
  • Dunn, E. R. 1931. Some Central American snake genera. Copeia 1931 (4): 163 - get paper here
  • Hilje B, Chaves G, Klank J, Timmerman F, Feltham J, Gillingwater S, Piraino T, Rojas E 2020. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Tirimbina Biological Reserve: a baseline for conservation, research and environmental education in a lowland tropical wet forest in Costa Rica. Check List 16(6): 1633-1655 - get paper here
  • Hoevers, L., & HENDERSON, R. W. 1974. Additions to the herpetofauna of Belize (British Honduras). Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Contr. Biol. Geol. No. 2, 6 pp.
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Lee, J. C. 2000. A field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the Maya world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
  • Lee, J.C. 1996. The amphibians and reptiles of the Yucatán Peninsula. Comstock, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 500 pp.
  • Martin, Plul S. 1958. A biogeography of reptiles and amphibians in the Gomez Farias Region, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Miscellaneous publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (101): 1-102 + 7 plates - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • Pérez-Santos,C. & Moreno, A.G. 1988. Ofidios de Colombia. Museo reegionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, Monographie VI, 517 pp.
  • Ray, Julie M. and Patty Ruback 2015. Updated checklists of snakes for the provinces of Panamá and Panamá Oeste, Republic of Panama. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (2): 168-188 - get paper here
  • Rueda-Almonacid J V & Rueda-Martínez, J.N. 2004. Primer registro de una serpiente del género Amastridium Cope, (Serpentes: Colubridae), para Sudamérica. Revista de la Academia Colombiana Ciencias 28 (107): 291-293 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1944. Snakes of the Hoogstraal Expeditions to northern Mexico. Zoological Series of Field Museum of Natural History 29 (8): 135-152 - get paper here
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • Sunyer, Javier 2014. An updated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 186–202. - 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.
  • Werner, FRANZ 1903. Ueber Reptilien und Batrachier aus Guatemala und China in der zoologischen Staats-Sammlung in München nebst einem Anhang über seltene Formen aus anderen Gegenden. Abhandl. Königl. Bayer. Akad. Wissensch., Munich, (ser. 2) 22 (2): 343-384 - get paper here
  • Wilson L D 1988. Amastridium Cope. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles ( 449: 1-3 - get paper here
  • Wilson, L. D., & MEYER, J. R. 1969. A review of the colubrid snake genus Amastridium. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 68: 145-159. - get paper here
  • Wilson, L. D., & ROBINSON, D. C. 1971. Additional specimens of the colubrid snake Amastridium veliferum (Colubridae) from Costa Rica, with comments on a pseudohermaphrodite. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci. 70: 53-54. - get paper here
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