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Atractaspis microlepidota GÜNTHER, 1866

IUCN Red List - Atractaspis microlepidota - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaAtractaspididae (Atractaspidinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: (Western) Small-Scaled Burrowing Asp 
SynonymAtractaspis microlepidota GÜNTHER 1866: 29
Atractaspis micropholis GÜNTHER 1872: 36
Atractaspis microlepidota — GÜNTHER 1888: 332
Atractaspis andersonii BOULENGER 1905: 180
Atractaspis magrettii SCORTECCI 1928
Atractaspis microlepidota microlepidota — PERRET 1961
Atractaspis microlepidota — WELCH 1994: 23
Atractaspis microlepidota — TRAPE & MANÉ 2002
Atractaspis microlepidota — DOBIEY & VOGEL 2007
Hoseraspea microlepidota — HOSER 2012 (preliminary)
Atractaspis microlepidota — WALLACH et al. 2014: 66 
DistributionSenegal, Gambia, S Mauritania, W Mali ?, Republic of South Sudan (RSS)

Type locality: “probably West Africa” (in error fide HARDING & WELCH 1980)  
TypesType: BMNH 1946.1.18.6 (and possibly additional specimens). 
DiagnosisOriginal description: “Uniform blackish brown. Body stout. Ventrals 212 ; sub-caudals simple, 26. Scales in twenty-nine series. Two pairs of frontal shields; one pre- and one postocular six upper labials, the third and fourth entering the orbit temporals rather numerous and irregular. This is probably a West African species. Our specimen is 20 inches long, the tail measuring 18 lines.” (Günther 1966: 29)

Diagnosis: “24 à 31 rangées d'ecailles dorsales (24-29 chez les males, 25-31 chez les femelles). Ventrales: 210 à 230 (210-230 chez les males, 218-225 chez les femelles). Sous-caudales: 23 à 31 (26-31 chez les males, 23-28 chez les femelles).
Taille. Les maxima renseignes dans la litterature sont 750 mm (queue = 60 mm) pour les males et 570 mm (queue = 45 mm) pour les femelles.” (Laurent 1950)

Compare entry for Atractaspis engaddensis.

Synonymy: For a discussion see Largen and Rasmussen (1993). Atractaspis microlepidota micropholis has been raised to species status. Atractaspis phillipsi has been removed from the synonymy of A. microlepidota and raised to full species status by BROADLEY 1994.

Morphology: The venom glands of Atractaspis microlepidota are extremely elongate, extending under the skin for about 15% of the body length behind the head.

Distribution: Pitman 1974 also reported this species from Uganda. Has been erroneously listed for Benin but does not occur there (Hughes 2013). LARGEN & RASMUSSEN 1993 reported this species from Ethiopia. Dobiey & Vogel show it in their map for W Mali but Trape & Mané 2017 claim that no records are known from there. 
  • Al-Oran, Ratib M.;Amr, Zuhair S. 1995. First record of the mole viper, Atractaspis microlepidota engaddensis, from Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East 11: 47-49 - get paper here
  • Barbour, T. 1913. Reptiles and amphibians from eastern Sudan. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 26: 145-150 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1905. Descriptions of three new snakes discovered in South Arabia by Mr. G.W. Bury. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (7) xvi: 178-180 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, D.G. 1994. A collection of snakes from eastern Sudan, with the description of a new species of Telescopus Wagler, 1830 (Reptilia: Ophidia). Journal of African Zoology 108 (2): 201-208.
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • David, P. & Vogel, G. 2010. Venomous Snakes of Europe, Northern, Central and Western Asia (TERRALOG 16) (English and German Edition). Edition Chimaira, Terralog 16, 160 pp. - get paper here
  • Dobiey, M. & Vogel, G. 2007. Venomous Snakes of Africa - Giftschlangen Afrikas. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 15, 150 pp. - get paper here
  • Egan, D. 2007. Snakes of Arabia. Motivate Publishing, Dubai, 208 pp.
  • Gardner, A.S. 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Oman and the UAE. Edition Chimaira, 480 pp.
  • Günther,A. 1866. Fifth account of new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (3) 18: 24-29 - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1872. Seventh account of new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (4) 9: 13-37 - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1888. Contribution to the knowledge of snakes of tropical Africa. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 1: 322-335 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R. 2012. A reassessment of the Burrowing Asps, Atractaspis Smith, 1849 with the erection of a new genus and two Tribes (Serpentes: Atractaspidae). Australasian J. Herpetol. 11: 56-58 - get paper here
  • Joger U 1983. Book Review: Harding & Welch, Venomous snakes of the world, Pergamon Press, 1980. Salamandra 19 (1-2): 99-102 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Largen,M.J. & Rasmussen,J.B. 1993. Catalogue of the snakes of Ethiopia (Reptilia Serpentes), including identification keys. Tropical Zoology 6: 313-434 - get paper here
  • Laurent, R.F. 1950. Revision du genre Atractaspis A. SMITH. Mem. Inst. Roy. nat. Belg. (2) 38: 1-49
  • Lillywhite, Harvey B. 2014. How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World's Snakes. Oxford University Press, New York, 256 pp
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1956. On snakes collected in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by J.S. Owen, Esq. Sudan Notes Rec. 36: 37-56 [1955]
  • Mackessy, S.P. (ed.) 2009. HANDBOOK OF VENOMS AND TOXINS OF REPTILES. CRCPress/Taylor & Francis, xvi + 521 pp.
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Padial, J. M. 2006. COMMENTED DISTRIBUTIONAL LIST OF THE REPTILES OF MAURITANIA (WEST AFRICA). Graellsia, 62(2): 159-178 - get paper here
  • Perret, J.L. 1961. Études herpétologiques africaines III. 1. La faune ophidienne de la région camerounaise. Bull. Soc. neuchâtel. Sci. nat., 84: 133-138
  • Pitman,C.R.S. 1974. A guide to the snakes of Uganda. Codicote, Wheldon & Wesley, L., 290 pp.
  • Scortecci, G. 1929. Rettili dell'Eritrea esistenti nelle Collezioni del Museo Civico de Milano. Atti della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali, e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Milano 67 (3-4): 290-339 [1928] - get paper here
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Trape, J.-F. & Mané, Y. 2002. Les serpents du Sénégal: liste commentée des espèces. Bull. Soc. Pathol. Exot. 95 (3): 148-150
  • Trape, J.-F. & Mané, Y. 2006. Guide des serpents d’Afrique occidentale. Savane et désert. [Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger]. IRD Editions, Paris, 226 pp. - get paper here
  • Trape, Jean-François; Mané, Youssouph 2000. Les serpents des environs de Dielmo (Sine-Saloum, Sénégal). Bull. Soc. Herp. France 95: 19-35 - get paper here
  • Trape, Jean-François & Youssouph Mané 2017. The snakes of Mali. Bonn zoological Bulletin 66 (2): 107–133 - get paper here
  • TRAPE, Jean-François; Youssouph MANÉ & Ivan INEICH 2006. Atractaspis microlepidota, A. micropholis et A. watsoni en Afrique occidentale et centrale. Bull. Soc. Herp. France 119 : 5-16 - get paper here
  • van der Kooij, Jeroen 2001. The herpetofauna of the Sultanate of Oman: Part 4: The terrestrial snakes. Podarcis 2 (2): 54-65 - 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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