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Calamaria brongersmai INGER & MARX, 1965

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Calamariinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Brongersma’s Reed Snake 
SynonymCalamaria brongersmai INGER & MARX 1965: 118
Calamaria virgulata BOULENGER 1897 (part.)
Calamaria brongersmai — INGER & MARX 1965: 118
Calamaria brongersmai — INGER & VORIS 2001
Calamaria brongersmai — WALLACH et al. 2014: 135 
DistributionIndonesia (Sulawesi)

Type locality: Pinapuan near Luwuk and Biak, near Tipp of the eastern Peninsular, Celebes  
TypesHolotype: GNM (Naturhistoriska Museet Göteborg), paratype: Basel 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Maxillary teeth modified; third and fourth supralabials entering orbit; preocular present; mental not touching anterior chin shields; paraparietal surrounded by 5 shields and scales; ventrals with dark squarish spots; no light lateral stripe on any scale row; an oblique dark stripe behind eye (Inger & Marx 1965).

Description. Rostral wider than high, portion visible from above equals 1/2 length of prefrontal suture; prefrontal shorter than frontal, touching first 2 or 3 supralabials; frontal hexagonal, 2 to 2.25 times width of supraocular, about3/4 length of parietal; parietal 1.5 times length of prefrontal; paraparietal surrounded by 5 shields and scales; nasal smaller than postocular and oriented obliquely forward; pre-ocular present; neither ocular as high as eye; eye equal to or slightly smaller than eye-mouth distance; 5 supralabials, third and fourth entering orbit, fifth the largest, first, third, and fourth subequal and slightly shorter than second; mental triangular, not touching anterior chin shields; 5 infralabials, first 3 touching anterior chin shields; both pairs of chin shields meeting in midline; 3 gulars in midline between posterior chin shields and first ventral (Inger & Marx 1965).

Body thickness index 0.009 (1 specimen); tail thick, tapering at tip to a compressed point; dorsal scales reduce to 4 rows on tail opposite third to fourth subcaudal anterior to terminal scute (Inger & Marx 1965).

Teeth: Eight modified maxillary teeth (2 specimens) (Inger & Marx 1965).

Scale counts: Ventrals 155 in male, 157 in female; subcaudals 18 in male, 11 in female. Totallengthofmale225mm.,offemale189mm.;ratioof tail length to total length 0.089 in male, 0.048 in female (Inger & Marx 1965).

Coloration: Body and tail brown above, each scale with a light network; dark brown spots in center or on edges of scattered scales; some scales of first 2 rows with yellow spots, not forming continuous lateral stripe; head brown above with darker spots; an oblique dark brown stripe from eye to posterior corner of fifth supralabial; other supralabials with dark sutures; head below yellowish with brown spots on labials and chin shields; ventrals and subcaudals yellowish with scattered dark squarish spots (Inger & Marx 1965).

Comparisons. All Celebesian species of Calamaria except some virgulata and boesemani have the mental touching the chin shields and differ from brongersmai in this regard. In addition, acutirostris and curta are distinguished from brongersmai by having unmodified maxillary teeth. Calamaria apraeocularis has no preocular. The latter, and virgulata have higher ventral counts (females in excess of 179) than brongersmai. Besides the difference in the mental shield, nuchalis and muelleri are distinguished from brongersmai in having the frontal equal to or longer than the parietal and in lacking bold black squares ventrally (Inger & Marx 1965).

Calamaria brongersmai is sympatric with C. boesemani in eastern Celebes (Fig. 29) where the two differ in ventral coloration (checkered in brongersmai, immaculate in boesemani), lateral coloration (white stripe absent on first scale row in brongersmai, present in boesemani), eye size (much greater than eye-mouth distance in boesemani, smaller in brongersmai), orientation of the nostrils(pointed obliquely forward in brongersmai, laterally in boesemani), and number of scales surrounding paraparietal (5 in brongersmai, 6 in boesemani). One of the specimens (NMB 1707) of brongersmai was identified by Boulenger (1897) and Schenkel (1901) as virgulata (non H. Boie, equals modesta of this paper). It differs from modesta in having lower subcaudal counts and an oblique black stripe behind the eye.
The species agreeing with brongersmai in having the mental separated from the chin shields, 5 supralabials, a preocular, modified maxillary teeth, and the paraparietal surrounded by 5 scales are: bicolor, lateralis, lumholtzi, schlegeli, everetti, modesta, virgulata, and palavanensis.
None of these species has a dark, checkered belly or a dark, oblique stripe behind the eye. In addition, bicolor differs from brongersmai in having higher subcaudal counts and a relatively longer tail. Calamaria lateralis and everetti have the reduction to four dorsal scale rows closer to the vent than does brongersmai. Calamaria schlegeli and palavanensis have higher subcaudal counts than brongersmai. Calamaria lumholtzi differs from brongersmai in having a light stripe low on the side, usually no preocular, and the prefrontal as long as the frontal. 
EtymologyNamed after Leo Daniel Brongersma (1907-1994) [obituary in Copeia 1995: 513 and Zool. Med. Leiden 69: 177]. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Grismer, L. L., H. Kaiser & N. S. Yaakob 2004. A new species of Reed Snake of the genus Calamaria H. Boie, 1827, from Pulau Tioman, Pahang, West Malaysia. Hamadryad 28 (1&2): 1-6 - get paper here
  • Howard, S.D. & Gillespie, G.R. 2007. Two New Calamaria (Serpentes) Species from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Journal of Herpetology 41 (2): 237 - get paper here
  • Inger, R. F. & H. MARX 1965. The systematics and evolution of the oriental colubrid snakes of the genus Calamaria. Fieldiana: Zoology 49: 1-304. - get paper here
  • Inger, R.F. & Voris, H. K. 2001. The biogeographical relations of the frogs and snakes of Sundaland. Journal of Biogeography 28: 863-89 1
  • Koch, A. 2012. Discovery, Diversity, and Distribution of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Sulawesi and its offshore islands. Edition Chimaira, 374 pp. [ISBN 978-3-89973-432-4] - get paper here
  • Koch, A.; Arida, E.; Mcguire, J.A.; Iskandar, D.T. & Böhme, W. 2009. A new species of Calamaria (Squamata: Colubridae) similar to C. ceramensis de Rooij, 1913, from the Banggai Islands, east of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Zootaxa 2196: 19–30 - get paper here
  • Lang, Ruud de & G. Vogel 2005. The snakes of Sulawesi. A field guide to the land snakes of Sulawesi with identification keys. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, 25, Frankfurt am Main, 312 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.
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