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Dasypeltis atra STERNFELD, 1912

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: African Egg-eating Snake, Montane Egg-eater
G: Schwarze Eierschlange, (Rote) Hochland-Eierschlange 
SynonymDasypeltis scabra var. atra STERNFELD 1912
Dasypeltis atra — BROADLEY 1998
Dasypeltis atra — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 494
Dasypeltis atra — WALLACH et al. 2014: 209
Dasypeltis lineolata PETERS 1878: 206
Dasypeltis palmarum — FISCHER 1884a: 12 (not LEACH)
Dasypeltis scabra var. F — BOULENGER 1894: 356 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra var. F — ANGEL 1925: 34
Dasypeltis palmarum ? STEJNEGER 1894: 733 (not LEACH)
Dasypeltis scabra — BOULENGER 1896: 553 (not Linnaeus)
Dasypeltis scabra — STERNFELD 1908: 240, 332
Dasypeltis scabra — ROUX 1910: 99
Dasypeltis scabra — BOULENGER 1909: 303
Dasypeltis scabra — PERACCA 1909: 173
Dasypeltis scabra — BOULENGER 1911: 5 & 1912: 332
Dasypeltis scabra — LOVERIDGE 1916: 79 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — LÖNNBERG 1922: 7 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — LOVERIDGE 1929: 28 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — PARKER 1932: 220
Dasypeltis scabra — LOVERIDGE 1936a: 34 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — MERTENS 1938: 8
Dasypeltis scabra — GANS 1959: 141 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — SPWALS 1978: 10
Dasypeltis scabra — LARGEN & RASMUSSEN 1993: 340 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — FLEMMING & BATES 1999: 423
Dasypeltis scabra — WAGNER & BÖHME 2007: 136
Dasypeltis scabra var. atra — STERNFELD 1912: 272
Dasypeltis scabra var. atra — GANS 1961: 73
Dasypeltis scabra var. palmarum — ANGEL 1925: 34 (not LEACH)
Dasypeltis scaber — LOVERIDGE 1929: 28 (part) (not Linnaeus)
Dasypeltis scaber — PARKER 1932: 220
Dasypeltis scaber — LOVERIDGE 1936a: 34 (part)
Dasypeltis scaber — LOVERIDGE 1936b: 256
Dasypeltis scaber — UTHMÖLLER 1937: 113 (part)
Dasypeltis scaber scaber — BOGERT 1940: 85 (part) (not Linnaeus)
Dasypeltis scaber palmarum — LOVERIDGE 1942: 285 (not LEACH)
Dasypeltis scaber palmarum — LOVERIDGE 1946: 106.
Dasypeltis scabra palmarum — LOVERIDGE 1955: 11 (not LEACH)
Dasypeltis scaber ater — LAURENT 1956: 261
Dasypeltis scaber ater — CURRY-LINDAHL 1956: 47
Dasypeltis scaber ater — HINKEL 1986: 25
Dasypeltis scabra atra — DE WITTE 1962: 139
Dasypeltis scabra atra — BOURGEOIS 1968: 284
Dasypeltis atra — GANS 1964: 279
Dasypeltis atra — GANS 1971: 461
Dasypeltis atra — GANS 1974: 47
Dasypeltis atra — LAURENT, 1965: 14
Dasypeltis atra — PITMAN 1974: 119
Dasypeltis atra — HINKEL & FISCHER 1988: 16
Dasypeltis atra — HINKEL & FISCHER 1990: 137
Dasypeltis scaber var. lineolata — TRAPE & MANÉ 2006: 53 (in error)
Dasypeltis atra — BROADLEY & BATES 2009
Dasypeltis atra — BATES & BROADLEY 2018: 30
Dasypeltis atra — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 514 
DistributionN/E/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia, N Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi.

Type locality: Virgin forest behind boundary mountains on northwest shore of Lake Tanganyika, Democratic Republic of the Congo. (”Urwald hinter den Randbergen am Nordwestufer des Tanganyika-Sees”

lineolata: Kenya; Type locality: Kitui, Kenya.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 22516 A & B, 27761
Holotype: ZMB 9224 [lineolata] 
Diagnosis 
CommentSynonymy: D. lineolata has priority over D. atra but has hardly been used as a valid name after 1899). In order to maintain nomenclatural stability the ICZN has been requested (Bates 2017, submitted; Case 3750) to suppress the older name D. lineolata by taking action according to Article 23.9.3 by use of its plenary power (Article 81; ICZN 1999). We maintain prevailing usage of the name D. atra according to Article 82.1 (ICZN 1999) following Bates & Broadley 2018.

Distribution: see map in GÖTHEL 2015: 19.

Variation: there are black, dorsally brown, and reddish varieties of this species.

Habitat. Found mainly in high elevation savannah and forest, usually above 1500 m (e.g. Fig. 21 in Bates & Broadley 2018).

Sympatry. Sympatric with D. medici at Nyambene Hills (Kenya) and Moshi (Tanzania); sympatric with D. confusa 10 km S of Juba (South Sudan), at Busingiro and Gulu (Uganda) and Kacheliba (Kenya); sympatric with D. scabra at Aware Melca and Lake Abiata (Ethio- pia), Mulema (Uganda), Lake Naivasha and Mount Kulal (Kenya), Astrida (Rwanda) and Minziro Fo- rest Reserve (Tanzania); sympatric with D. abyssina at Keriyo (Ethiopia); sympatric with both D. medici and D. scabra at Mount Kilimanjaro (Bates & Broadley 2018: Appendix 1). 
EtymologyNamed after its color, Latin “ater, atra, atrum” = dark or black. 
References
  • Bates, M.F. & D.G. Broadley 2018. A revision of the egg-eating snakes of the genus Dasypeltis Wagler (Squamata: Colubridae: Colubrinae) in north-eastern Africa and south-western Arabia, with descriptions of three new species. Indago 34 (1): 1-95 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D. G. & HOWELL, K. M. 1991. A check list of the reptiles of Tanzania, with synoptic keys. Syntarsus 1: 1—70
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. The reptilian fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In: Schmidt, K.P. and Noble, G.K., Contributions to the Herpetology of the Belgian Congo... [reprint of the 1919 and 1923 papers]. SSAR Facsimile reprints in Herpetology, 780 pp.
  • Broadley, Donald G. and Michael F. Bates 2009. New range extensions for Dasypeltis atra Sternfeld in Tanzania (Serpentes: Colubridae), with a review of the distribution of colour phases. African Journal of Herpetology 58 (1): 50-55. - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Die Eierschlangenarten Afrikas. Draco 16 (61): 78-92 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Erkrankungen und Parasiten bei Eierschlangen. Draco 16 (61): 70-76 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Nachzucht von Afrikanischen Eierschlangen. Draco 16 (61): 62-69 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Afrikanische Eierschlangen im Terrarium. Draco 16 (61): 54-61 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Das Fressverhalten Afrikanischer Eierschlangen. Draco 16 (61): 28-37 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Die Pazifisten unter den Schlangen – Afrikanische Eierschlangen der Gattung Dasypeltis. Draco 16 (61): 6-21 - get paper here
  • Gravlund,P. et al. 1998. Geographic distribution: Dasypeltis atra. Herpetological Review 29 (1): 53 - get paper here
  • Kulmus, H. 1985. Einige Anmerkungen zur Zucht und Haltung von Eierschlangen. Herpetofauna 7 (36): 23-34 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Largen,M.J. & Rasmussen,J.B. 1993. Catalogue of the snakes of Ethiopia (Reptilia Serpentes), including identification keys. Tropical Zoology 6: 313-434 - get paper here
  • Pitman,C.R.S. 1974. A guide to the snakes of Uganda. Codicote, Wheldon & Wesley, L., 290 pp.
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1912. IV. Zoologie II. Lfg. Reptilia. In: Schubotz., R. (ed.): Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Zentral-Afrika Expedition 1907- 1908, unter Führung A. Friedrichs, Herzogs zu Mecklenburg. Klinkhard und Biermann, Leipzig: 197-279 [published 1912, not 1913, as often cited, see Männel & Kucharzewski 2017] - 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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