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Cubophis caymanus (GARMAN, 1887)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Alsophiini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Grand Cayman Racer, Racer, Ground Snake, Black Snake 
SynonymAlsophis angulifer var. caymanus GARMAN 1887: 276
Alsophis cantherigerus caymanus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 571
Alsophis caymanus — CROTHER 1999
Cubophis caymanus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 201
Cubophis caymanus — KRYSKO et al. 2015 
DistributionGrand Cayman Island

Type locality: Grand Cayman Island  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: MCZ 6020 
DiagnosisDescription: Body moderate, blunt-angled at the edge of the abdomen; head distinct, narrowed in front, subquadrangular in transverse section, flattened on the crown; tail nearly 1/3 of the total length, slender. Eye moderate. Teeth small, longer and farther apart backward. Scales with two pores, smooth, in seventeen rows; dorsal longer than broad, outer and caudal as broad as long. Ventrals broad; in five specimens they number 167, 170, 171, 173, and 175 respectively. Anal bifid. Subcaudals in two series; in three specimens there are 125, 127, and 129 pairs. Crown-shields nine; internasals moderate, narrower forward; prefrontals broader than long, bent downward, and shortened, at the loreal; frontal about twice as long as broad, truncate in front, narrower and having parallel sides behind tlle middle, acute-angled between the parietals; supra-oculars large, broad posteriorly; parietals very large, outer anterior angle in contact with the lower postorbital. Rostral medium, hardly reaching the top of the snout, in contact with six plates. Nostril between the quadrate halves of the small nasal. Loreal small, quadrangular, hinder lower angle acute. One anteorbital, reaching the top of the head, not in contact with the frontal. Two postorbitals; lower in contact with the fifth and sixth labials and the temporal; upper meeting the supraocular and the parietal. Temporal large, narrow anteriorly, bounded by the lower postorbital, the posterior three labials, and two post-temporals. Of the latter the upper is the larger. Labials eight, third, fourth and fifth in orbit, sixth and seventh very large. Lower labials ten, first pair meeting behind the mental, first six in contact nriththe submentals, fifth and sixth largest. Mental small, triangular. Submentals two pairs, posterior much longer, each of the anterior meeting five, and each of the posterior meeting two of the lower labials. (Garman 1887: 276).

Coloration: Large specimens have a ground color of reddish brown, and the greater number of the scales black-edged or black-tipped; backward they have irregular spots of dark including one to several scales; and the belly appears to have been a brick-red in life. The larger ones have transverse blotches of brown under the tail, and numerous white-edged scales similar to those of Liophis cobella. Some have vertical bendsor blotches of brown anteriorly on the flanks; farther back these meet on the vertebral lineand become transverse bands. (Garman 1887: 276). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Garman, S. 1887. On the reptiles and batrachians of Grand Cayman. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 24: 273-277 - get paper here
  • Hedges, S. Blair; Arnaud Couloux; Vidal, Nicolas 2009. Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of West Indian racer snakes of the Tribe Alsophiini (Squamata, Dipsadidae, Xenodontinae). Zootaxa 2067: 1-28 - get paper here
  • Kelehear, Crystal 2016. Cubophis caymanus (Cayman Racer) Diet. Herpetological Review 47 (4): 680-681 - get paper here
  • KRYSKO, KENNETH L.; DAVID W. STEADMAN, LEROY P. NUÑEZ & DAVID S. LEE 2015. Molecular phylogeny of Caribbean dipsadid (Xenodontinae: Alsophiini) snakes, including identification of the first record from the Cay Sal Bank, The Bahamas. Zootaxa 4028 (3): 441–450 - get paper here
  • Pagoda, P. 2011. Ein Monat als Volontär in der Karibik - der Blauen wegen. Elaphe 19 (1): 65-72
  • Rose-Smyth, C; 2019. Cubophis caymanus (Grand Cayman Racer) Diet and prey-handling behavior. Herpetological Review 50 (2): 390-391 - 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.
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