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Dasypeltis medici BIANCONI, 1859

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Eastern Forest Egg-eater, East African Egg Eater
G: Ostafrikanische Eierschlange (lamuensis: Östliche O.E.) 
SynonymDasypeltis medici medici (BIANCONI 1859)
Dipsas Medici BIANCONI 1859
Dasypeltis palmarum PETERS 1878 (not of LEACH!)
Dasypeltis scaber var. fasciolata PETERS 1868: 451
Dasypeltis elongata MOCQUARD 1888: 131
Dasypeltis scabra var. bianconii BOETTGER 1893: 132
Dasypeltis scabra var. F BOULENGER 1894 (part.)
Dasypeltis scaber UTHMÖLLER 1934 (part.)
Dasypeltis scaber LOVERIDGE 1936 (part.)
Dasypeltis scaber SCORTECCI 1939: 276 (part.)
Dasypeltis scaber medici LOVERIDGE 1939 (part.)
Dasypeltis medici lamuensis GANS 1957
Dasypeltis medici medici — RASMUSSEN 1981: 180
Dasypeltis medici lamuensis — LANZA 1988
Dasypeltis medici lamuensis — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 32
Dasypeltis medici medici — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 32
Dasypeltis medici — BROADLEY et al. 2003: 231
Dasypeltis medici — WALLACH et al. 2014: 211
Dasypeltis medici medici — BATES et al. 2014: 411
Dasypeltis medici lamuensis — GÖTHEL 2015
Dasypeltis medici — BATES & BROADLEY 2018: 8
Dasypeltis medici — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 519 
DistributionS Kenya, Tanzania, N/C Mozambique, Malawi, NE Zimbabwe, Somalia, Zambia, NE Republic of South Africa (Kwazulu Natal), Swaziland

lamuensis: coastal Somalia, south through Kenya to NE Tanzania at Mount Kilimanjaro and Moshi; Type locality: Lamu Island, Kenya.

Type locality: Mozambique; probably Inhambane (fide BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991)  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: ZMB 5737 [Dasypeltis scaber var. fasciolata PETERS 1868]
Holotype: MCZ 40581–2 [lamuensis] 
DiagnosisDescription. Dorsal colour pattern varies considerably. Patterned specimens may be similar to D. scabra: grey to tan with narrow, darker, rectangular saddles (longer than wide) separated by narrow cream to white interspaces, with irregular narrow dark lateral bars situated for the most part adjacent to the pale interspaces. The saddles may be much elongated and closely set and give the appearance of a broad dark vertebral stripe broken by more-or-less equally spaced pale flecks. Pattern cycles 57–108 (mean 74.0, N = 24); 1–5 chevrons (pointing forward) on nape and anterior part of body (N = 13). Some specimens are uniform pink, orange, red, grey, fawn or brown above (Spawls et al. 2002), but specimens with intermediate patterns also occur, e.g. reddish (Fig. 2C–D) or grey (Fig. 2E–F) with fairly vague dark dorsal markings and mere indications of whitish interspaces (e.g. CAS 135751, FMNH 251325, ZMUC 6111); NMK 1699 is reddish-brown with 3–4 vague chevrons only (anterior part of body) and a cream venter. Edges of apical pits on dorsal scales darkly pigmented. Venter usually cream, often with fine grey stippling (may be extensive as in NMW 26926); but occasionally yellowish-cream (e.g. NMK S 3956, Mount Warges; ZFMK 63582, near Mombasa [with extensive grey speckling]); or salmon-coloured with central part of each plate dark brown anteriorly in FMNH 142635 (vicinity of Nairobi).
Preoculars usually one on either side of head, but one on one side and two on the other in NMW 9964–18 and ZMB 8597, and two on either side in ZMUC 6143 (N = 61); postoculars usually two on either side of head, but one in 10.3% of specimens, and one on one side and two on the other in 4.6% of specimens (N = 87); frontal shield usually extensively pitted (States 3–4), but marginally pitted (States 1–2) in 10.5% of specimens (including three snakes ≥422 mm SVL) and smooth (State 0) in one adult (MSNG 42710b) (N = 57); inter-prefrontal suture usually weakly marked, but moderately marked in 18.9% of specimens, and deeply marked in AMNH 143717 (N = 53); supralabials 12–15, usually 14 (both sides of head), usually 7[3rd and 4th entering orbit] on either side of head, but variations are: 6[2,3] on both sides in NMK 1699, 6[2,3] on right side in MSNG 427210b and USNM 16755, 6[3,4] on both sides in NMK 2535 & 3249, 7[2,3,4] on right side in ZMUC 6124, 8[3,4] on left side in SMNS 4216A, and 8[3,4,5] on left and 7[3,4,5] on right side in SMNS 4216F (N = 85); anterior temporals usually two on either side of head (70.5%), occasionally three (14.8%), 3 left:2 right or 2:3 (13.1%) and 4:3 in USNM 16755 (N = 61); posterior temporals usually three on either side of head (60.7%), occasionally 3:4 or 4:3 (14.8%), four (14.8%), 3:2 or 2:3 (4.9%), 5:4 in MCZ 40580, five in ZMB 17453 (N = 61), and two (left side, right damaged) in ZMB 48150; temporal formula on either side of head usually 2+3, often 2+4, occasionally 3+3 and 3+4; midbody scale rows 22–27 (mean 24.8 ± 0.97, N = 57); ventrals 220–252 in males (N = 29), 218–252 in females (N = 49); subcaudals 75–109 in males (N = 27), 61–90 in females (N = 47). Ratio SVL: tail length 3.5–4.7 in males (N = 27), 4.0–6.1 in females (N = 44); total length: tail length 4.5–5.7 in males (N = 27), 5.0–7.1 in females (N = 44). 
CommentSynonymy after GANS 1957 and BATES & BROADLEY 2018 who synonymized the subspecies lamuensis with medici.

Distribution: see map in GÖTHEL 2015: 19, BATES & BROADLEY 2018: 12 (Fig. 3).

Habitat. Coastal and montane forest and savannah at elevations from sea level to about 2500 m on Mount Warges (Kenya). In southern Africa it occurs in lowland evergreen forest (Broadley 1990).

Sympatry. Sympatric with D. scabra at Belet Amin (Somalia), Kilifi (Kenya), and Amani, Dodoma, Morogoro and Zanzibar (Tanzania); sympatric with D. atra at Nyambene Hills (Kenya) and Moshi (Tanzania); sympatric with both of these species at Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (BATES & BROADLEY 2018). 
Etymology 
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
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bianconi, J.J. 1859. Specimina Zoologica Mosambicana. Bononiae, fasc. 1-16, ii+406 pp. First published in Mem. R. Accad. Sci. Inst. Bologna 10: 501 - get paper here
  • Boettger, O. 1893. Uebersicht der von Prof. C. Keller anlässlich der Ruspolischen Expedition nach den Somaliländern gesammelten Reptilien und Batrachier. (Schluss). Zool. Anz. 16 (417): 129- 132. - get paper here
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  • 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. 1962. On some reptile collections from the North-Western and North-Eastern Districts of Southern Rhodesia 1958-1961, with descriptions of four new lizards. Occ. Pap. Nat. Mus. South. Rhodesia 26 (B): 787-843
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  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Abgepacktes Futter – Vogeleier als Nahrungsquelle. Draco 16 (61): 22-27 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Die Pazifisten unter den Schlangen – Afrikanische Eierschlangen der Gattung Dasypeltis. Draco 16 (61): 6-21 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Die Eierschlangenarten Afrikas. Draco 16 (61): 78-92 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Nachzucht von Afrikanischen Eierschlangen. Draco 16 (61): 62-69 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Evolutionsbiologische Betrachtungen. Draco 16 (61): 38-45 - get paper here
  • Göthel, Helmut 2015. Das Fressverhalten Afrikanischer Eierschlangen. Draco 16 (61): 28-37 - get paper here
  • Hermann, R. 1994. Anmerkungen über eine unerwartete Nachzucht der ostafrikanischen Eierschlange Dasypeltis medici lamuensis GANS 1957. Sauria 16 (3): 3-10 - get paper here
  • Jacobs, Jan-Cor 2004. The Eastern-African eggsnake Dasypeltis medici (lamuensis). Litteratura Serpentium 24 (2): 57-66 - get paper here
  • Jacobsen, Niels H.G.; Errol W. Pietersen & Darren W. Pietersen 2010. A preliminary herpetological survey of the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary on the San Sebastian Peninsula, Vilankulo, Mozambique. Herpetology Notes 3: 181-193 - get paper here
  • Kulmus, H. 1985. Einige Anmerkungen zur Zucht und Haltung von Eierschlangen. Herpetofauna 7 (36): 23-34 - get paper here
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  • Lyakurwa, John Valentine 2017. The Reptiles of the Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve (USFR): An Updated Checklist with Notes on Dagger-Tooth Vine Snake Xyelodontophis uluguruensis. Journal of East African Natural History 106(2):57-65. - get paper here
  • Malonza, Vincent; Beryl A. Bwong, Vincent Muchai 2011. Kitobo Forest of Kenya, a unique hotspot of herpetofaunal divers. Acta Herpetologica 6 (2): 149-160 - get paper here
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  • Paterna, Alessandro 2017. Reproduction Cycle of the Eastern Egg-Eater Snake Dasypeltis medici medici (Bianconi, 1859) in Captivity Russ. J. Herpetol. 24 (3): 228-234 - get paper here
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1868. Über eine neue Nagergattung, Chiropodomys penicullatus, sowie über einige neue oder weniger bekannte Amphibien und Fische. M. Ber. k. preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1868 : 448-461 - get paper here
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1878. Über die von Hrn. J. M. Hildebrandt während seiner letzten ostafrikanischen Reise gesammelten Säugethiere und Amphibien. Mber. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1878: 194-209
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