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Aspidura copei GÜNTHER, 1864

IUCN Red List - Aspidura copei - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymAspidura copii GÜNTHER 1864: 203
Aspidura copii — BOULENGER 1893: 311
Aspidura copei — WALL 1921: 207
Aspidura copii — SMITH 1943: 336
Aspidura copei — GANS & FETCHO 1982: 298
Aspidura copei — DAS 1996: 54
Aspidura copii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 59 
DistributionSri Lanka

Type locality: unknown fide Gans & Getcho 1982, but probably “Ceylon”.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.12.9 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This species of Aspidura is characterized by the absence of a preocular scale; by a prefrontal scale that forms the entire anterior border of the orbit and contacts supralabials two, three and four; by having the lower postocular longer than the upper; both postoculars in contact with the parietal scale; and by two pairs of chin shields (three in the holotype). Seventeen dorsal scale rows are present along the body (in NHMB 928 the count drops to 15 near midbody). The ventral counts range from 123 to 137 (mean = 129.14 ‡ 3.36, N = 7) and those of the subcaudals from 15 to 35 (mean = 24 + 6.93, N = 7). The subcaudals are undivided. (The Basel specimen has three divided ones.) Snout-vent lengths range from 325 to 524, tail lengths from 33 to 78, and midbody diameter ranges from 5.5 to 25 mm (Table 2). Fig. 2 compares the major counts, Fig. 3 the body proportions, and Figs. 5, 8. and 10 illustrate specimens. (Gans & Fetcho 1982) 
CommentThe original description is available online (see link below).

Abundance: rare; known from only 7 specimens. 
EtymologyNamed after Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897), American herpetologist. See Osborn 1929 and Vetter 2003 for biographical notes. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Gans C; Fetcho J R 1982. The Sri Lankan genus Aspidura (Serpentes, Reptilia, Colubridae). Annals of the Carnegie Museum 51 (14): 271-316 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Osborn, H. F. 1929. Biographical memoir of Edward Drinker Cope 1840-1897. National Academy of Sciences 13: 127-317 (1930?)
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Vetter, H. 2003. Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897). Sekretär 3 (2): 21-30 - get paper here
  • Wall, FRANK 1921. Ophidia Taprobanica or the Snakes of Ceylon. Colombo Mus. (H. R. Cottle, govt. printer), Colombo. xxii, 581 pages - 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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