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Contia longicaudae FELDMAN & HOYER, 2010

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Higher TaxaDipsadidae, Colubroidea, Serpentes (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesForest Sharp-tailed Snake 
SynonymContia longicaudae FELDMAN & HOYER 2010
Contia longicauda — CROTHER et al. 2012 
DistributionUSA (N California, S Oregon)

Type locality: California, Mendocino County, 8.6 km E of junction with Highway 1 via State Route 128, 39°10’18’’N, 123°39’48’’W, 5 m elevation. Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
 
TypesHolotype: CAS 231505, adult female, 7 July 1998, R. F. Hoyer. 
CommentDiagnosis.—Contia longicaudae can be distinguished from C. tenuis by a greater number of caudal scales (CS) and a proportionately longer tail (Table 1). Male C. longicaudae CS range from 48–58 (mode = 54) compared to male C. tenuis with CS from 28–42 (mode = 33); female C. longicaudae CS range from 43–52 (mode = 45) whereas female C. tenuis CS range from 24–38 (mode = 28). In male C. longicaudae TaL/ ToL ranges from 17.27–22.38% (x¯ = 19.95%) versus 12.43– 18.39% (x¯ = 14.37%) in male C. tenuis; TaL/ToL in female C. longicaudae ranges from 15.38–19.82% (x¯ = 17.26%) compared to female C. tenuis with TaL/ToL of only 9.59–14.84% (x¯ = 12.09%). Contia longicaudae is also larger overall, attaining greater body and tail lengths than C. tenuis (Table 1). Male C. longicaudae commonly surpass 300 mm Tot (30 of 68 $ 300 mm, x¯ = 272.34 mm, max = 417 mm), whereas male C. tenuis rarely exceed 300 mm Tot (2 of 668 $ 300 mm, x¯ = 216.90 mm, max = 321 mm); female C. longicaudae often top 340 mm Tot (19 of 59 $ 340 mm, x¯ = 279.29 mm, max = 447 mm), but female C. tenuis seldom reach such sizes (12 of 559 $ 340 mm, x¯ = 242.22 mm, max 5 419 mm). Contia longicaudae can be further distinguished from C. tenuis by distinctive ventral markings (Fig. 4). Black crossbars that mark the anterior portion of ventral scutes are narrow in C. longicaudae and cover only one-third to onefourth of each ventral, whereas these cross bands are thick and cover one-half to one-third of each ventral in C. tenuis. Furthermore, these black bands are usually absent from caudal scales in C. longicaudae, but penetrate the caudal scales in C. tenuis. Diagnosis.—Contia longicaudae can be distinguished from C. tenuis by a greater number of caudal scales (CS) and a proportionately longer tail (Table 1). Male C. longicaudae CS range from 48–58 (mode = 54) compared to male C. tenuis with CS from 28–42 (mode = 33); female C. longicaudae CS range from 43–52 (mode = 45) whereas female C. tenuis CS range from 24–38 (mode = 28). In male C. longicaudae TaL/ ToL ranges from 17.27–22.38% (x¯ = 19.95%) versus 12.43– 18.39% (x¯ = 14.37%) in male C. tenuis; TaL/ToL in female C. longicaudae ranges from 15.38–19.82% (x¯ = 17.26%) compared to female C. tenuis with TaL/ToL of only 9.59–14.84% (x¯ = 12.09%). Contia longicaudae is also larger overall, attaining greater body and tail lengths than C. tenuis (Table 1). Male C. longicaudae commonly surpass 300 mm Tot (30 of 68 $ 300 mm, x¯ = 272.34 mm, max = 417 mm), whereas male C. tenuis rarely exceed 300 mm Tot (2 of 668 $ 300 mm, x¯ = 216.90 mm, max = 321 mm); female C. longicaudae often top 340 mm Tot (19 of 59 $ 340 mm, x¯ = 279.29 mm, max = 447 mm), but female C. tenuis seldom reach such sizes (12 of 559 $ 340 mm, x¯ = 242.22 mm, max 5 419 mm). Contia longicaudae can be further distinguished from C. tenuis by distinctive ventral markings (Fig. 4). Black crossbars that mark the anterior portion of ventral scutes are narrow in C. longicaudae and cover only one-third to onefourth of each ventral, whereas these cross bands are thick and cover one-half to one-third of each ventral in C. tenuis. Furthermore, these black bands are usually absent from caudal scales in C. longicaudae, but penetrate the caudal scales in C. tenuis. 
EtymologyEtymology.—The species name, an adjective meaning ‘‘long-tailed,’’ derives from the Latin adjective longi, or long, and the Latin noun cauda, or tail. The combination refers to the proportionately longer tail that C. longicaudae possess compared to its sister species C. tenuis. 
References
  • Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2012. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians, Seventh Edition. Herpetological Circular 39: 1-92
  • Feldman, C.R. & Hoyer, R.F. 2010. A New Species of Snake in the Genus Contia (Squamata: Colubridae) from California and Oregon. Copeia 2010 (2): 254–267 - get paper here
 
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