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Borikenophis portoricensis (REINHARDT & LÜTKEN, 1862)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Alsophiini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesBorikenophis portoricensis portoricensis (REINHARDT & LÜTKEN 1862)
Borikenophis portoricensis anegadae (BARBOUR 1917)
Borikenophis portoricensis aphantus (SCHWARTZ 1966)
Borikenophis portoricensis nicholsi (GRANT 1937)
Borikenophis portoricensis richardi (GRANT 1946) 
Common NamesE: Puerto Rican Racer 
SynonymAlsophis portoricensis REINHARDT & LÜTKEN 1862: 221
Dromicus sanctae-crucis var. portoricensis — BOULENGER 1896: 113
Alsophis portoricensis — STEJNEGER 1904: 700
Alsophis portoricensis — FOWLER 1918
Alsophis portoricensis — GRANT 1932
Alsophis portoricensis —  MAGLIO 1970
Alsophis portoricensis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 572
Alsophis portoricensis — CROTHER 1999
Ocyophis portoricensis — ZAHER et al. 2009
Borikenophis portoricensis — HEDGES et al. 2009
Borikenophis portoricensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 108

Borikenophis portoricensis anegadae BARBOUR 1917
Alsophis anegadae BARBOUR 1917: 102
Dromicus anegadae — GRANT 1937: 521
Alsophis portoricensis anegadae — CAREY 1972
Alsophis portoricensis anegadae — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Alsophis portoricensis anegadae — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 573
Alsophis portoricensis anegadae — BARUN et al. 2007
Borikenophis portoricensis anegadae — HEDGES et al. 2009
Alsophis portoricensis anegadae — MOUGEY & PERRY 2015

Borikenophis portoricensis aphantus (SCHWARTZ 1966)
Alsophis portoricensis aphantus SCHWARTZ 1966
Alsophis portoricensis aphantus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Alsophis portoricensis aphantus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 573
Borikenophis portoricensis aphantus — HEDGES et al. 2009

Borikenophis portoricensis nicholsi (GRANT 1937)
Alsophis nicholsi GRANT 1937: 516
Alsophis nicholsi nicholsi — GRANT 1946
Alsophis portoricensis nicholsi — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Alsophis portoricensis nicholsi — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 573
Borikenophis portoricensis nicholsi — HEDGES et al. 2009

Borikenophis portoricensis richardi (GRANT 1946)
Alsophis nicholsi richardi GRANT 1946: 124
Alsophis portoricensis richardi — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1988
Alsophis portoricensis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 574
Borikenophis portoricensis richardi — HEDGES et al. 2009 
DistributionPuerto Rico (incl. Culebrita), British Virgin Islands (e.g. Anegada)

portoricensis: widely distributed in Puerto Rico (including Cayo Santiago) except southern third of island and extreme west.

anegadae: British Virgin Is.

aphantus: Isla Vieques.

nicholsi: Buck Island of the Capella Islands off south coast of St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Is.

richardi: Isla Culebra, St. Thomas and its satellites, Lovango Cay, Peter I., SaltI.

Type locality: Puerto Rico.  
TypesSyntypes: ZMUC 60460 (Presumably) = UZM (but missing); other syntype formerly in NMW.
Holotype: MCZ 12083 [anegadae]
Holotype: BMNH RR1964.944 [aphantus]
Holotype: UMMZ 80648 [nicholsi]
Holotype: USNM 66522, paratypes: USNM [richardi] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Species in this genus have 17–19 midbody scale rows, 163–198 ventrals, 106–145 subcaudals, 1–3 apical scale pits, eight upper labials, 10 lower labial, 16-21 maxillary teeth, and 22-35 dentary teeth (Table 2). Borikenophis differs in at least one of these characters from all other alsophiine genera except Alsophis and Hypsirhynchus. Except for B. sanctaecrucis (191–198 ventrals), it differs from most Alsophis in having a lower number of ventrals (163–187 versus 184–220 in Alsophis). Most Hypsirhynchus have 19 midbody scales rows (H. ater and H. melanichnus have 17 rows) whereas most Borikenophis have 17 rows (those populations from the Virgin Islands usually have 19 rows). 
CommentIllustrations: Stejneger, 1904; Schmidt, 1928; Schwartz, 1966c; Philibosian and Yntema, 1977; Rivero, 1978; MacLean, 1982.

Distribution: populations from Isla Mona and Isla Desecheo are now B. variegatus.

Alsophis portoricensis variegatus SCHMIDT, 1926 has been elevated to full species status by HEDGES et al. 2009.

Type species: Alsophis portoricensis REINHARDT and LÜTKEN 1862 is the type species of the genus Borikenophis HEDGES & VIDAL 2009. 
EtymologyNamed after its distribution on Puerto Rico.

The generic name refers to its distribution centered on the Puerto Rican Bank; Boriken is the Taino word for Puerto Rico. 
  • Barbour, T. 1917. Notes on the herpetology of the Virgin Islands. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 30: 97-103. - get paper here
  • Barun, A.; Perry, G.; Henderson, R.W. & Powell, R. 2007. Alsophis portoricensis anegadae (Squamata: Colubridae): Morphometric Characteristics, Activity Patterns, and Habitat Use. Copeia 2007 (1): 93-100 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1896. Ueber einige Reptilien von der Insel Mona (Westindien). Jahrberichte und Abhandlungen aus dem Naturwissenschaftlichen Verein in Magdeburg 1894-1896: 112-114
  • Carey, W.M. 1972. The Herpetology of Anegada, British Virgin Islands. Carib. J. Sci. 12(1/2): 79-89.
  • Estrada, A. R. and Borroto-Paez, R. 2020. The Puerto Rican racer (Borikenophis portoricensis) using two invasive species as resources: Australian pines (Casuarina equisetifolia) as refuge and house geckos (Hemidactylus sp.) as prey. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 26: 230-231. - get paper here
  • Fowler, H. W. 1918. Some amphibians and reptiles from Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Publ. Carnegie Inst. Washington, 252: 1-16.
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Grant, C. 1932. The genus Alsophis in the Puerto Rico area,. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 16: 149-151
  • Grant, C. 1937. Herpetological notes with new species from the American and British Virgin Islands, 1936. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 21: 503-522.
  • Grant, C. 1946. A new name for Alsophis antillensis. J. Dept. Agric. Puerto Rico 30 (2): 118-125
  • Grazziotin, Felipe G.; Hussam Zaher, Robert W. Murphy, Gustavo Scrocchi, Marco A. Benavides, Ya-Ping Zhang and Sandro L. Bonatto 2012. Molecular phylogeny of the New World Dipsadidae (Serpentes: Colubroidea): a reappraisal. Cladistics DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-0031.2012.00393.x - get paper here
  • Hegemann, G. 1961. Enzymatic constitution of Alsophis saliva and its biological implications. Breviora (134): 1-8 - get paper here
  • Hileman, Eric T.; Robert Powell, Gad Perry, Krista Mougey, Richard Thomas, and Robert W. Henderson 2017. Demography of the Puerto Rican Racer, Borikenophis portoricensis (Squamata: Dipsadidae), on Guana Island, British Virgin Islands. Journal of Herpetology 51 (4): 454-460 - get paper here
  • Krysko, Kenneth L.; Louis A. Somma, Dustin C. Smith, Christopher R. Gillette, Daniel Cueva, Joseph A. Wasilewski, Kevin M. Enge, Steve A. Johnson, Todd S. Campbell, Jake R. Edwards, Michael R. Rochford, Rhyan Tompkins, Jeffrey L. Fobb, Scott Mullin, 2016. New verified nonindigenous amphibians and reptiles in Florida, 1976 through 2015, with a summary of over 152 years of introductions. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 23 (2): 110–143 - get paper here
  • MacLean, W.P. 1982. Reptiles and amphibians of the Virgin Islands. MacMillan Caribbean, London: vii + 54 pp.
  • Maglio, Vincent J. 1970. West Indian Xenodontine colubrid snakes: Their probable origin, phylogeny, and zoogeography. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 141 (1): 1-54 - get paper here
  • Mougey, Krista and Gad Perry. 2015. Alsophis portoricensis anegadae (Puerto Rican racer) diet / cannibalism. Herpetological Review 46 (3): 441-442 - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Philibosian, R. and Yntema, J.A. 1977. Annotated checklist of the birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians of the Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico. Information Services, Frederiksted, St. Croix, 48 pp.
  • Philibosian, R.; Yntema, J. A. 1976. Records and status of some reptiles and amphibians in the Virgin Islands. I. 1968-1975. Herpetologica 32 (1): 81-85 - get paper here
  • Philibosian, R.; Yntema, J. A. 1978. Records and status of some reptiles and amphibians in the Virgin Islands. II. 1975-1976. Herpetologica 34 (1): 47-51 - get paper here
  • Reinhardt, JOHANNES & CHRISTIAN FREDERIK LÜTKEN 1862. Bidrag tii det vestindiske Öriges og navnligen tii de dansk-vestindiske Oers Herpetologie. Vidensk. Meddel. Naturhist. For. Kjöbenhavn (10-18): 153-291 [1862] - get paper here
  • Rios-López, N. & Aide, T.M. 2007. Herpetofaunal dynomics during secondary succession. Herpetologica 63 (1): 35-50 - get paper here
  • Rivero, J.A. 1978. Los anfibios y reptiles de Puerto Rico. M. Pareja Montana, 16, Barcelona, Espafia: x + 152 + 148pp.
  • Sánchez-Muñoz, Alejandro J. 2020. Envenomation of a Puerto Rican Whiptail (Pholidoscelis exsul: Teiidae) by a Puerto Rican Racer (Borikenophis portoricensis: Dipsadidae) in southern Puerto Rico. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (1): 105–106 - get paper here
  • Schmidt, K.P. 1928. Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Amphibians and land reptiles of Porto Rico, with a list of those reported from the Virgin Islands. New York Academy of Sciences 10 (1):160 pp.
  • Schwartz, A. 1966. Snakes of the genus Alsophis in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Stud. Fauna Curaçao and Carib. Is. 23(90):175-227. - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Stejneger, L. 1904. The herpetology of Porto Rico. Rept. United States Natl. Mus. 1902: 549-724. - get paper here
  • Torres-Santana C. 2010. Borikenophis portoricensis (Puerto Rican Racer). Distribution. Caribbean Herpetology 13: 1 - 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.
  • Zaher H, Murphy RW, Arredondo JC, Graboski R, Machado-Filho PR, Mahlow K, et al. 2019. Large-scale molecular phylogeny, morphology, divergence-time estimation, and the fossil record of advanced caenophidian snakes (Squamata: Serpentes). PLoS ONE 14(5): e0216148 - get paper here
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