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Dasypeltis confusa TRAPE & MANÉ, 2006

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Diamond-back Egg-eater, Confusing Egg Eater
G: Westafrikanische Eierschlange 
SynonymDasypeltis confusa TRAPE & MANÉ 2006
Dasypeltis confusa — PAUWELS & VENDE WEGHE 2008
Dasypeltis confusa — BATES 2013
Dasypeltis confusa — WALLACH et al. 2014: 210
Dasypeltis scabra scabra — LOVERIDGE 1955: 46 (not Linnaeus)
Dasypeltis scabra — GANS 1959: 141 (part, ‘5L’) (not Linnaeus)
Dasypeltis scabra — PITMAN 1974: 116 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — HUGHES, 1997: 68 (part)
Dasypeltis scabra — BEHANGANA & GOODMAN 2002: 66 (part)
Dasypeltis confusa — BATES & BROADLEY 2018: 13
Dasypeltis confusa — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 517
Dasylepis confusa — BRANCH 2018 (in error) 
DistributionSouth Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Gabon, Cameroon, Togo, Nigeria, Mali, Chad, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin

Type locality: Ibel (12°31’N, 12°23’W), Sénégal oriental.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: MNHN 2006.0303 (anciennement IRD S-3105), récolté entre mars 1993 et février 1994 par un paysan de ce village qui l’a remis aux auteurs. 
DiagnosisDescription. Dorsum grey or light brown with dar- ker markings, usually in the form of rhombic saddles (often diamond-shaped with sharpest points aligned antero-posteriorly) which are confluent with the la- teral bars (i.e. the ‘5L’ linked pattern of Gans 1959, Pl. VIII, Fig. 6); dark markings usually have a cream to white margin around them, emphasising the pattern; pattern cycles 50–79 (mean 61.7, N = 30); dorsal sad- dles are not always joined to the lateral bars, so that the dorsal pattern may be similar to that of D. scabra (‘5N’) over small portions of the back in some speci- mens. A few specimens from South Sudan (six of the 14 from Torit – see Gans 1959: 203) and Uganda (MCZ 47801, 47830, UMMZ 88530) are plain light brown dorsally. Venter cream-white, often with grey stippling at the edges.
Preoculars one on either side of head (N = 40); post- oculars usually two on either side of head, but only one on left side in FMNH 62216 (N = 45); frontal shield for the most part smooth, usually with 1–2 rows of shallow pits at the edges (States 1–2), but occasionally completely smooth and without pits (State 0) (ZMB 56436, UMMZ 88529) (N = 38); inter-prefrontal su- ture usually weakly marked, but moderately marked in 21.7% of specimens, and well marked (deep) in BM 1954.1.12.9 (N = 23); supralabials 11–14, usually 14 (both sides of head), usually 7[3rd and 4th enter- ing orbit] on either side of head, but variations are: 6[2,3] (BM 1954.1.12.8), 6[3,4] on left side of head (FMNH 58336), and 6[3,4] on left and 5[3] on right (ZMB 77441) (N = 42); anterior temporals usually two on either side of head (95.3%), but 1 left: 2 right in BM 1954.1.12.8 and 2: 1 in BM 1954.1.12.9 (N = 43); posterior temporals usually three on either side of head (62.8%), two in NMW 9964–7, occasionally 3:4 or 4:3 (11.6%), four (11.6%), 2:3 or 3:2 (9.3%), and five in MCZ 47815 (N = 43); temporal formula on either side of head usually 2+3, often 2+4; midbody scale rows 23–27 (mean 25.0 ± 1.03, N = 40); ventrals 199–224 in males (N = 14), 212–239 in females (N = 30); subcaudals 51–67 in males (N = 12), 48–61 in females (N = 24). Ratio SVL: tail length 4.7–5.8 in males (N = 12), 4.9–7.5 in females (N = 20); total length: tail length 5.7–6.8 in males (N = 12), 5.9–8.5 in females (N = 20). 
CommentSynonymy: after BATES & BROADLEY 2018.

Description of holotype: for French description see TRAPE & MANÉ 2006.

Description des autres spécimens: Les 32 spécimens de Guinée et du Bénin se répartissent en 11 mâles, 15 femelles et 6 spécimens mutilés. Le plus grand mâle mesure 540 mm, la plus grande femelle 742 mm. La longueur moyenne des mâles est de 393 mm (écart-type : ± 102 mm), celle des femelles est de 498 mm (écart-type : ± 183 mm). Le rapport LT/LQ varie de 5,6 à 6,3 chez les mâles (moyenne : 5,9 ; écart-type : ± 0,3) et de 6,8 à 7,8 chez les femelles (moyenne : 7,2 ; écart-type : ±0,3). Le nombre de rangs dorsaux varie de 23 à 25 chez les mâles (moyenne : 24,6) et de 24 à 26 chez les femelles (moyenne : 25,0). Le nombre de ventrales varie de 213 à 223 chez les mâles (moyenne : 218,4 ; écart-type : ± 3,3) et de 224 à 236 chez les femelles (moyenne : 230,7 ; écart-type : ± 3,7). Le nombre de sous-caudales varie de 66 à 73 chez les mâles (moyenne : 68,6 ; écart-type : ± 2,4) et de 56 à 64 chez les femelles (moyenne : 59,3 ; écart-type : ± 2,4). La nasale est toujours semi-divisée. Les autres caractéristiques de l’écaillure de ces spécimens et leur coloration sont similaires à celles des exemplaires du Sénégal [from TRAPE & MANÉ 2006].

Distribution: see map in GÖTHEL 2015: 19.

Habitat. Found in savannah at elevations of 500 m to 1200 m.

Sympatry. Sympatric with D. atra 10 km S of Juba (South Sudan), Busingiro and Gulu (Uganda) and Kacheliba (Kenya); sympatric with D. scabra at Lake Kivu (Rwanda) (BATES & BROADLEY 2018).

Mimicry. The dorsal pattern of D. confusa closely resembles that of the night adders Causus rhombeatus (Lichtenstein), C. bilineatus Boulenger, C. defilippii (Jan) and C. maculatus (Hallowell) which all occur in north-eastern Africa (Spawls et al. 2002; Rasmussen 2005; Dobiey & Vogel 2007). 
Etymologynamed for the fact that it has been confused with other Dasypeltis species previously. 
References
  • Bates, M.F. 2013. First records of the egg-eating snake Dasypeltis confusa Trape & Mane, 2006 in Nigeria and Chad, with range extensions for Ghana. Navors. nas. Mus., Bloemfontein 29 (2): 17-27.
  • 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
  • Böhme, Wolfgang, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Christian Brede & Philipp Wagner 2011. The reptiles (Testudines, Squamata, Crocodylia) of the forested southeast of the Republic Guinea (Guinée forestière), with a country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 35-61 - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Die Eierschlangenarten Afrikas. Draco 16 (61): 78-92 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Die Pazifisten unter den Schlangen – Afrikanische Eierschlangen der Gattung Dasypeltis. Draco 16 (61): 6-21 - get paper here
  • Pauwels, O.S.G. & Vande weghe, J.P. 2008. Les reptiles du Gabon. Smithsonian Institution, Washington: 272 pp. - get paper here
  • Segniagbeto GLazcano. H., Trape J. F., David P., Ohler A., Dubois A. & Glitho I. A. 2011. The snake fauna of Togo: systematics, distribution and biogeography, with remarks on selected taxonomic problems. Zoosystema 33 (3): 325-360. DOI: 10.5252/z2011n3a4 - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • TRAPE Jean-François and Youssouph MANÉ 2006. Le genre Dasypeltis Wagler (Serpentes : Colubridae) en Afrique de l’Ouest : description de trois espèces et d’une sous-espèce nouvelles. Bull. Soc. Herp. France 119: 27-56 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.-F. & Mané, Y. 2006. Guide des serpents d’Afrique occidentale. Savane et désert. [Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger]. IRD Editions, Paris, 226 pp. - get paper here
  • TRAPE, JEAN-FRANÇOIS & CELLOU BALDÉ 2014. A checklist of the snake fauna of Guinea, with taxonomic changes in the genera Philothamnus and Dipsadoboa (Colubridae) and a comparison with the snake fauna of some other West African countries. Zootaxa 3900 (3): 301–338
  • Trape, Jean-François & Youssouph Mané 2017. The snakes of Mali. Bonn zoological Bulletin 66 (2): 107–133 - get paper here
  • Trape, S.; Mediannikov, O.; Trape, J.F. 2012. When colour patterns reflect phylogeography: New species of Dasypeltis (Serpentes: Colubridae: Boigini) from West Africa. Comptes Rendus Biologies 335 (7): 488–501 - 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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