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Dendrophidion graciliverpa CADLE, 2012

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymDendrophidion graciliverpa CADLE 2012: 296
Drymobius dendrophis — BOULENGER 1894: 16 (part)
Dendrophidion percarinatum — DUNN 1944: 477 (part)
Dendrophidion graciliverpa — WALLACH et al. 2014: 225 

Type locality: 3 km E Pasaje, 30 m elevation, El Oro province, Ecuador [03°20’S, 79°49’W].  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: AMNH 110584 (Figs. 20, 21, 23, 26A in Cadle 2012). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Dendrophidion graciliverpa is characterized by (1) dorsocaudal reduction from 8 to 6 occurring anterior to subcaudal 28 (range, 7–27); (2) divided anal plate; (3) subcaudal counts >=120 in males and females; (4) subadults with narrow pale bands (<1 dorsal scale width on the neck) or transverse rows of ocelli; adults retain bands or become predominantly brown or green (pale bands usually separated by fewer than three dorsal scale rows on the neck; total number of pale bands on the body >55); (5) ventrals immaculate or with narrow transverse dark lines across the anterior border of each ventral plate; (6) in life, head greenish brown to green and body brownish, olive, or grayish; and (7) everted hemipenis of the ‘‘gracile’’ morphology, with an exceptionally long, slender hemipenial body proximal to an expanded distal portion, which bears spines, calyces, and other apical ornamentation (retracted hemipenis nearly always to subcaudal 10 or greater); total number of enlarged spines on hemipenis >80 (81, 84, and 116 in three studied organs). 
CommentDistribution: (Fig. 27 in Cadle 2012) Dendrophidion graciliverpa occurs in the lowlands of western Ecuador from Esmeraldas and Imbabura provinces in the north to Loja province in the south. The upper elevational record, 1,750 m, is based on a juvenile male and female from Cotopaxi province (MCZ 163968–69, referred specimens). These specimens have typical graciliverpa banding patterns, and the retracted hemipenis of the male extends to the proximal suture of subcaudal 15 (potential confusion with D. brunneum is possible in this area, but gracile hemipenial morphology is decisive for identification).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyThe specific name is a feminine noun in apposition derived from the Latin words gracilis (slender or gracile) + verpa (penis). The name refers to the long, slender hemipenis of this species in comparison specifically to Dendrophidion percarinatum, with which it has been confused, but also more generally to hemipenes of most other species of Dendrophidion. 
  • Arteaga AF, Bustamante-Enríquez LM and Guayasamin JM 2013. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. - get paper here
  • Cadle, John E. 2012. Systematics of the Neotropical Snake Dendrophidion percarinatum (Serpentes: Colubridae), With Descriptions of Two New Species from Western Colombia and Ecuador and Supplementary Data on D. brunneum. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 160 (6): 259-344. - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Morato, Sérgio Augusto Abrahão; Guilherme Nunes Ferreira; Michela Rossane Cavilha Scupino (eds.) 2018. Herpetofauna da Amazônia Central: Estudos na FLONA de Saracá-Taquera. Curitiba, Pr: STCP Engenharia de Projetos Ltda.; Porto Trombetas, Pa: MRN – Mineração Rio do Norte S.A., 2018.<br />210p. - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - 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.
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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