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Boaedon radfordi GREENBAUM, PORTILLO, JACKSON & KUSAMBA, 2015

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Lamprophiinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesRadford’s House Snake 
SynonymBoaedon radfordi GREENBAUM, PORTILLO, JACKSON & KUSAMBA 2015 
DistributionDemocratic Republic of Congo (Orientale)

Type locality: Shatuma-Abis village, Lendu Plateau, Orientale Province, DRC (2.01315° N, 30.84066° E, 2 000 m elevation).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: UTEP 20995 (field no. EBG 2422), an adult male. Collected by Chifundera Kusamba, Wandege M. Moninga, Mwenebatu M. Aristote and Eli Greenbaum on 7 July 2009.
Paratopotype: UTEP 20996 (field no. EBG 2421), an adult male from Shatuma-Abis village, Lendu Plateau, Orientale Province, DRC (2.01315° N, 30.84066° E, 2 000 m). Collected by Chifundera Kusamba, Wandege M. Moninga, Mwenebatu M. Aristote and Eli Greenbaum on 7 July 2009. 
CommentDiagnosis: Boaedon radfordi can be distinguished from most congeners by the presence of a glossy tan, brown, olive-grey, grey or blackish ground colour, lack of stripes on the head, neck and body, and single subcaudals. Boaedon radfordi differs from B. olivaceus by having a larger number of ventrals, two supralabials entering the eye (usually three in B. olivaceus) (Fig. 4, Table 1), moderate to high mitochondrial sequence divergence, and two amino acid differences in the nuclear RAG1 gene. Boaedon radfordi is distinguished from B. poensis (currently a synonym of B. olivaceus) by having a larger number of scales around the midbody (Table 2); these two taxa are separated by at least 2 000 km. Boaedon radfordi is distinguished from B. olivaceus stirnensis (currently a synonym of B. olivaceus) by having larger numbers of ventrals and scales around the midbody (Table 2) and by its presence in forested habitats (grasslands in B. olivaceus stirnensis); these two taxa are separated by at least 1 500 km.

Habitat: terrestrial; forests (and recently deforested areas) in the Albertine Rift, including lowland rainforest, transitional forest, and montane forest. The type specimens were found underground by local farmers tilling their fields during the day, suggesting the species is adaptable to non-forested habitats. 
EtymologyNamed after Mr Larry Radford of the Buffalo Zoological Gardens, a keeper and African snake enthusiast, who served as the first herpetology mentor to EG from 1984 to 1992. 
References
  • Greenbaum, Eli; Frank Portillo, Kate Jackson & Chifundera Kusamba 2015. A phylogeny of Central African Boaedon (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae), with the description of a new cryptic species from the Albertine Rift. African Journal of Herpetology 64 (1): 18–38 - get paper here
 
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