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Atractus melanogaster WERNER, 1916

IUCN Red List - Atractus melanogaster - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Blackbelly Ground Snake 
SynonymAtractus melanogaster WERNER 1916: 308
Atractus obtusirostris – WERNER 1916 (in part)
Atractus obtusirostris — AMARAL 1931
Atractus melanogaster — PASSOS & ARREDONDO 2009
Atractus melanogaster — WALLACH et al. 2014: 76 
DistributionColombia (Tolima, Antioquia)

Type locality: Cañon del Tolima, Dep. de Tolima, Colombia
Neotype locality: Quebrada Perales (2420 m), Vereda La Palma, 11.4 km west of the municipality of Cajamarca (04° 27’ N, 75° 26’ W), depart- ment of Tolima, Colombia (designated by PASSOS & LYNCH 2010).  
TypesNeotype. ICN-MHN = ICN 10030, adult male, collected on 29 May 1981 by J. D. Lynch and V. Rueda.
Holotype: adult female, originally housed at Landesmuseum Brno in Czech Republic (lost). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Atractus melanogaster is distinguished from all congeners by having: (1) 17/17/17 smooth dorsal scale rows; (2) generally two postoculars; (3) loreal long; (4) temporals 1 + 2; (5) generally eight supralabials, fourth and fifth contacting orbit; (6) generally seven infralabials, first four contacting chinshields; (7) 8–11 maxillary teeth; (8) four gular scales; (9) generally four preventrals; (10) 160–174 ventrals in females, 151– 162 in males; (11) 16–18 subcaudals in females, 19–28 in males; (12) dorsum brown, with an irregular vertebral line barely defined, paravertebral dark brown blotches, and first three dorsal scale rows contrasting (lighter or darker) with upper rows; (13) venter predominantly black with cream irregular blotches; (14) moderate body size, females reaching 475 mm SVL, males 336 mm SVL; (15) small tail length in females (7.2–8.5% SVL), small to moderate (8.8–13.2% SVL) in males; (16) hemipenis moderate bilobed, semicapitate, semicalyculate. 
CommentConservation: Since the original description, there have been no additional records of A. melanogaster. Hence, this species appears to be very rare and potentially threatened.

Similar species: Atractus melanogaster and Atractus obtusirostris have parapatric distributions and little overlap for some meristic features (i.e., number of ventral and infralabial scales), so it is possible to consider Atractus obtusirostris as a subspecies of A. melanogaster. Nevertheless, both taxa actually differ in the number of subcaudals, supralabials, infralabials contacting chinshields, and dorsal and ventral color pattern. 
  • Páez, V.P. et al. 2002. Guía de campo de algunas especies de anfibios y reptiles de Antioquia. Universidad de Antioquia, - get paper here
  • Passos, P. & Arredondo, J.C. 2009. Rediscovery and redescription of the Andean earth-snake Atractus wagleri (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae). Zootaxa 1969: 59–68 - get paper here
  • Passos, Paulo and John D. Lynch 2010. Revision of Atractus (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) from Middle and Upper Magdalena Drainage of Colombia. Herpetological Monographs 24 (1): 149-173 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Werner,F. 1916. Bemerkungen über einige niedere Wirbeltiere der Anden von Kolumbien mit Beschreibungen neuer Arten. Zool. Anz. 47: 301-311 - get paper here
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