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Atractus flammigerus (BOIE, 1827)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesFlaming Ground Snake 
SynonymBrachyorrhos flammigerus BOIE 1827
Calamaria badia — SCHLEGEL 1837: 35 (part.)
Rabdosoma badium var. B — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854
Rhabdosoma badium (a,b) — GÜNTHER 1858
Atractus badius var. E — BOULENGER 1894: 308
Atractus major — REED & BOROWSKY 1970
Atractus badius — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 27
Geophis alasukai GASC & RODRIGUES 1980 (fide HOOGMOED 1980)
Atractus flammigerus — STARACE 1998: 131
Atractus flammigerus — LEHR 2002: 204
Geophis alasukai — CLAESSEN 2003
Atractus flammigerus — PASSOS et al. 2007
Atractus flammigerus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 72 
DistributionBrazil, French Guiana (alasukai), Suriname, Peru

Type locality: see comment; Guyane (fide STARACE 1998), restricted to Paramaribo, Surinam, by HOOGMOED 1980.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesLectotype: RMNH 118a, a 313 mm female (Cabinet Brugmans), designated by Hoogmoed, 1980: 20. 
DiagnosisAtractus flammigerus is distinguished from all currently recognized congeners by having conspicuous keels on dorsal scale rows of body in immature and mature male and female specimens (Fig. 2). Although this repre- sents an apparent autapomorphy of the species, such a feature might be inconspicuous in immature female individuals and only barely evident in poorly preserved individuals. For that reason, we also provide the following unique combination of morphological characters that can be observed in specimens of any age category or reproductive condition: (1) dorsal scale rows 17/17/17; scales lacking apical pits but having keels on vertebral and paravertebral series; (2) postoculars two; (3) loreal long, three times height; (4) temporals one plus two; (5) supralabials usually eight, fourth, and fifth contacting eye; (6) infralabials seven or eight, first four contacting chin shields; (7) maxillary teeth usually eight; (8) gular scales comprising three scales (between seventh infralabial and preventrals); (9) preventrals usually three; (10) ventrals 145–156 in females, in males 138–151; (11) subcaudals 19–26 in females, 26–36 in males; (12) in preservative, dorsum uniformly black to brown with a series of 30–43 regular or slightly irregular transverse (never completing a ring) alternate cream or beige bands/blotches along body; (13) venter cream with square or rhomboidal blotches generally forming irregular stripes on the middle or lateral portion of belly; (14) moderately long body size, with females reaching 500 mm and males 380 mm; (15) small to moderately long tail in females (8.6–11.3% SVL) and moderate to long in males (13.1–17.1% SVL); (16) hemipenis strongly bilobed, semicapitate, and semicalyculate.

Comparisons.—Atractus flammigerus is unique within the genus Atractus in having keels on several dorsal scale rows along the body in males and females (Fig. 2). Immature specimens of A. flammigerus (in which keels might not be conspicuous) can be distinguished from morphologically sympatric congeners with 17 rows and banded color pattern (A. badius, A. latifrons, A. snethlageae, A. schach, and A. torquatus) by having a brown to black dorsum, usually with alternate transverse light bands (vs. dorsum, at least anteriorly, reddish brown with conspicuous dyads formed by two entire black rings separated from each other by a narrow light ring in A. badius and A. latifrons); postoculars two, subcaudals 19–26 in females and 26–36 males, snout truncated, and hemipenis strongly bilobed (vs. postocular single in the populations from the Guiana Shield [Passos and Prudente 2012], subcaudals 34–47 in females, 35–53 in males, snout projecting, and hemipenis slightly bilobed in A. torquatus); and, usually eight supralabials, eight maxillary teeth, and strongly bilobed hemipenis with laterally expand- ed basal naked pocket, capitulum shorter than hemipenial body and lacking lobular crests on the asulcate face of hemipenis, and surface of belly cream with squared or rhomboidal blotches generally forming irregular stripes on the middle or lateral portion of belly (vs. usually seven supralabials, seven maxillary teeth, and moderated bilobed hemipenis with narrow and longer naked pocket, capitulum equivalent to hemipenial body and usually with conspicuous lobular crests on the asulcate face of hemipenis, and surface of belly variably pigmented with brown spots or dots but never having squared to rhomboidal blotches in A. schach and A. snethlageae). Atractus riveroi (nonsympatric conge- ner restricted to elevations higher than 1000 m in the Pantepui region of the Guiana Shield; de Fraga et al. 2017) has one morphotype superficially similar to A. flammigerus and has supracloacal tubercles (in male specimens) that perhaps could be confused with keels. Nonetheless, A. flammigerus can be distinguished from A. riveroi by having 19–26 subcaudals in females and 26–36 in males, and eight maxillary teeth with two postdiastemal teeth (vs. 28–32 subcaudals in females and 34–46 in males, and seven maxillary teeth with a single postdiastemal tooth in A. riveroi). 
CommentAbundance: rare. Only ~20 individuals of A. flammigerus (sensu stricto) are reported in the literature on the basis of vouchered specimens (but see synonymy).

Subspecies: Atractus flammigerus snethlageae DA CUNHA & DO NASCIMENTO 1983 has been erected to full species status by Vanzolini (1986) which was confirmed by Martins & Oliveira (1993).

Synonymy after HOOGMOED 1980 who resurrected A. flammigerus, which at the time was considered a synonym of A. badius. See also Atractus badius.

Similar species: A. flammigerus has been confused with A. snethlageae and A. torquatus.

Distribution: See map in Passos et al. 2017: Fig. 9. The type locality was given as “Java” by BOIE (apparently in error fide PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970). Hoogmoed’s definition of A. flammigerus included specimens from the Guiana Shield (A. flammigerus sensu stricto) as well as from Peru (now A. snethlageae). 
Etymology 
References
  • BERNARDE, P.S., ALBUQUERQUE, S., BARROS, T.O. & TURCI, L.C.B. 2012. Serpentes do Estado de Rondônia, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 12(3): 1-29 - get paper here
  • Boie, F. 1827. Bemerkungen über Merrem's Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien, 1. Lieferung: Ophidier. Isis van Oken 20: 508-566. - 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
  • CATENAZZI, A., LEHR, E. & VON MAY, R. 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Manu National Park and its buffer zone, Amazon basin and eastern slopes of the Andes, Peru. Biota Neotrop. 13(4): 269-283
  • Claessen, H. 2003. Slangen van de Guyana’s. Deel V. Lacerta 61 (4): 123-133 - get paper here
  • Claessen, H. 2003. De slangen can de Guyana’s. Deel iv. Lacerta 61 (1): 19-27 - get paper here
  • Cunha, O R da; do Nascimento F P 1983. Ofidios da Amazonia. 20 - As especies de Atractus Wagler, 1828, na Amazonia oriental & Maranhao (Ophidia, Colubridae). Boletim do Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi NOVA SERIE ZOOLOGIA (No. 123): 1-38
  • Duellman, W. E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest. Comstock Pub Assoc.
  • Duellman, W.E., & Salas, A.W. 1991. Annotated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Cuzco Amazonico, Peru. Occas. Papers Mus. of Natur. Hist., Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence (143): 13 pp. - get paper here
  • Gasc & Rodrigues 1980. Liste preliminaire des Serpents de la Guyane francaise. Bull. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. Paris 2 (4): 559-598
  • Gasc J P; Rodrigues M T 1980. Sur la presence du genre Geophis (Colubridae, Serpentes) dans la region guyanaise. Description d'une nouvelle espece de Guyane francaise. BULLETIN DU MUSEUM NATIONAL D'HISTOIRE NATURELLE SECTION A ZOOLOGIE BIOLOGIE ET ECOLOGIE ANIMALES 1 [1979] (4): 1121-1130 - get paper here
  • Hoogmoed, M. S. 1980. Revision of the genus Atractus in Surinam, with the ressurection of two species (Colubridae, Reptilia). Notes on the Herpetofauna of Surinam VII. Zoologische Verhandelingen (175): 1-47 - get paper here
  • Hoogmoed, M.S. 1982. Snakes of the Guianan Region. Mem. Inst. Butantan 46: 219-254. - get paper here
  • Lehr, E. 2002. Amphibien und Reptilien in Peru. Natur und Tier-Verlag (Münster), 208 pp. - get paper here
  • Passos, P., R. Fernandes and Borges-Nojosa, D.M. 2007. A New Species of Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadinae) from a Relictual Forest in Northeastern Brazil. Copeia 2007 (4): 788–797 - get paper here
  • Passos, Paulo; Luciana O. Ramos, Antoine Fouquet, and Ana L.C. Prudente 2017. Taxonomy, Morphology, and Distribution of Atractus flammigerus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) Herpetologica Dec 2017, Vol. 73, No. 4: 349-363. - get paper here
  • Passos, Paulo; Philippe J. R. Kok, Nelson R. de Albuquerque, and Gilson A. Rivas 2013. Groundsnakes of the Lost World: A Review of Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from the Pantepui Region, Northern South America. Herpetological Monographs 27 (1): 52-86 - get paper here
  • SCHARGEL, WALTER E.; WILLIAM W. LAMAR, PAULO PASSOS, JORGE H. VALENCIA, DIEGO F. CISNEROS-HEREDIA, JONATHAN A. CAMPBELL 2013. A new giant Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from Ecuador, with notes on some other large Amazonian congeners. Zootaxa 3721 (5): 455–474 - 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
  • Starace, Fausto 1998. Guide des Serpents et Amphisbènes de Guyane. IBIS Rouge Editions, Guadeloupe, Guyane, 450 pp.
  • Starace, Fausto 2013. Guide des Serpents et Amphisbènes de Guyane. Ibis Rouge Editions, Matoury, Guyane, ISBN 978-2-84450-407-4 - 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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