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Apostolepis niceforoi AMARAL, 1935

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Colombian Blackhead, Amazon Burrowing Snake 
SynonymApostolepis niceforoi AMARAL 1935: 221
Apostolepis niceforoi AMARAL 1937: 1764
Apostolepis niceforoi — DE LEMA 2002
Apostolepis niceforoi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 52 
DistributionColombia (Amazonas)

Type locality: Colombia, Bajo Caqueta, La Pedrera (1°19’27.70” S—69°35’1.24”W, coordinates estimated based on municipality)  
TypesHolotype: lost, was IBSP (= IB), Collected by I. Niceforo Maria on an unknown date previous to 1935. Specimen lost in the Instituto
Butantan fire of 2010 (Entiauspe-Neto et al. 2020).
Other specimens: ICN-R 10422 (field tag GFM 084, from Florencia municipality, corregimiento de Orteguaza, vereda San Antonio de Atenas, sector Sebastopol (1°42’4.65”N—75°35’9.47”W), 593 m above sea level, Caquetá department, Colombia.
Collected by GFM, on 5 January 2005 in leaflitter of Amazonian Andean foothill tropical rainforest. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Apostolepis niceforoi can be distinguished from all its congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) 15/15/15 smooth dorsal without apical pits; (2) preocular single, contacting nasal; (3) loreal absent; (4) temporals 0+1; (5) supralabials six, with 2nd and 3rd in contact with orbit; (6) infralabials six, with first four in contact with chinshield; (7) ventrals 246–248 (246 in the single male, 248 in female); (8) subcaudals 21–23 pairs (21 in the single male, 23 in female); (9) in preservative, dorsal pattern uniform yellow, head dorsally yellow, frontals, supraoculars and temporals with brown margin, tear shaped brown blotch on supralabials 2–3, white supralabial blotch large, covering most of supralabials 4–5, dorsal pattern with five large (two rows) dark brown and two thin (one row) lateral stripes, small black tail blotch, ventral pattern uniform yellow (Entiauspe-Neto et al. 2020). 
CommentDistribution: Not in Brazil fide COSTA & BERNILS 2015.

Only known from 2 specimens, the type (now lost) and another specimen described by Entiauspe-Neto et al. 2020. 
EtymologyNamed after Brother Niceforo Maria (1888-1980), born Antoine Rouhaire, a French missionary in Colombia (where he used his monastic name). He went from France to Medellin (1908) and was given the task offorming a natural history museum (1913) (after Beolens et al. 2011). 
  • Amaral, A. 1935. Estudos sobre ophídios neotropicos XXXIII. Novas especies de ophídios do Colombia. Mem. Inst. Butantan 9: 219-223 + 1 plate - get paper here
  • Amaral,A. do 1937. New species of ophidians from Colombia. Compte Rendu 12th Congress Internat. Zool., Lisbon 3 [139 (141)]: 1762-1767 [1935]
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Costa, Henrique Caldeira & Renato Silveira Bérnils 2015. Répteis brasileiros: lista de espécies 2015. Herpetologia Brasileira 4 (3): 75-93
  • Entiauspe-Neto, Omar M.; Guido Fabian Medina Rangel, Thaís Barreto Guedes, & Arthur Tiutenko 2020. Raising of Lazarus: Rediscovery and redescription of Apostolepis niceforoi Amaral, 1935 (Serpentes: Dipsadidae: Elapomorphini). Holotipus I (2): 21-35 - get paper here
  • Lema, Thales de 2001. Fossorial snake genus Apostolepis from South America (Serpentes: Colubridae: Elapomorphinae). Cuadernos de herpetología 15 (1): 29-43.
  • Pérez-Santos,C. & Moreno, A.G. 1988. Ofidios de Colombia. Museo reegionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, Monographie VI, 517 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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