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Dipsas latifrontalis (BOULENGER, 1905)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Broad-fronted Snail-Eater, Venezuela Snail-eater
S: Caracolera frentona 
SynonymLeptognathus latifrontalis BOULENGER 1905: 561
Sibynomorphus latifrontalis — AMARAL 1930c:197
Dipsas latifrontalis — PETERS 1960:103 (in part)
Dipsas latifrontalis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 88
Dipsas latifrontalis — KORNACKER 1999: 79
Dipsas latifrontalis — CADLE 2005
Dipsas peruana — HARVEY & EMBERT 2008 (part.)
Dipsas latifrontalis — NATERA-MUMAW et al. 2015: 129
Dipsas latifrontalis — ARTEAGA et al. 2018: 127 
DistributionVenezuela (Lara, Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Federal, Miranda, Vargas), Colombia

Type locality: Aricagua, Edo. Mérida, Venezuela.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.20.98, adult female 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Dipsas latifrontalis differs from all described species of Dipsas based on
the following combination of characters: (1) 15/15/15 smooth dorsals with moderately enlarged vertebral row; (2) one loreal and one preocular in contact with orbit; (3) 8–10 supralabials with 3rd to 6th contacting orbit; (4) one pair of infralabials in contact behind symphysial; (5) 192 ventrals in one male (CVULA 7883), 194 in the female holotype; (6) 109 divided subcaudals in the single male, 95 in the female holotype; (7) dorsal and ventral ground color bronze (light brown in juveniles) with 32–36 dark reddish brown to black, circular to vertically elliptical blotches that are longer than interspaces and white to cream edged on first half of body; head grayish brown to black with different degrees of whitish edging on the labial scales, and with or without a thin (1–2 scales long) dingy white irregular nuchal collar; dorsal blotches extending marginally onto ventrals and occasionally fusing on the anterior part of the body; (8) 800 mm SVL in the holotype female; (9) 220 mm TL in the holotype female.

Comparisons. Dipsas latifrontalis is compared to species previously subsumed under D. peruana: D. palmeri, D. peruana, and the herein described D. klebbai. From D. palmeri, it differs in having the first 9–10 dorsal blotches edged with white or cream, vs. the first 19–35 in D. palmeri. The only known adult of D. latifrontalis photographed in life has bronze interspaces (Fig. 1n), a coloration not seen in any adult of D. palmeri (see also Remarks below). From D. klebbai, it differs in having shorter blotches (longest blotch up to 6–8 vertebral scales long) that are circular (instead of oblong) and that are only longer than the interspaces on the first half of the body. From D. peruana, it differs in having dorsal blotches in posterior half of the body shorter than interspaces, and in lacking melanized interspaces in adult individuals. 
CommentSynonymy after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970, HARVEY & EMBERT 2008, and ARTEAGA et al. 2018. Harvey and Embert (2009) resurrected the name D. praeornata for the Venezuelan coastal range population and relegated D. latifrontalis to a synonym of D. peruana. Arteaga et al. 2018 removed D. latifrontalis from the synonymy of peruana.

All Dipsas latifrontalis depicted in Lotzkat et al. (2008) and Natera-Mumaw et al. (2015) refer to a different species related to the D. incerta group, except for the holotype of D. latifrontalis BMNH 1946.1.20.98 (formerly 1905.5.31.76), fide ARTEAGA et al. 2018: 128.

Distribution: peruana not in Venezuela but latifrontalis is (Luis Esqueda, pers. comm., 21 April 2016, see Natera-Mumaw et al. 2015 for details). 
Etymology 
References
  • Amaral,A. do 1930. Estudos sobre ophidios neotropicos XVIII. Lista remissiva dos ophidios da região neotropica. Mem. Inst. Butantan 4: 126-271 [1929] - get paper here
  • Arteaga A, Salazar-Valenzuela D, Mebert K, Peñafiel N, Aguiar G, Sánchez-Nivicela JC, Pyron RA, Colston TJ, Cisneros-Heredia DF, Yánez-Muñoz MH, Venegas PJ, Guayasamin JM, Torres-Carvajal O 2018. Systematics of South American snail-eating snakes (Serpentes, Dipsadini), with the description of five new species from Ecuador and Peru. ZooKeys 766: 79-147 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1905. Description of a new snake from Venezuela. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (7) 15 (90): 561 - get paper here
  • Cadle, J. E. 2005. SYSTEMATICS OF SNAKES OF THE DIPSAS OREAS COMPLEX (COLUBRIDAE: DIPSADINAE) IN WESTERN ECUADOR AND PERU, WITH REVALIDATION OF D. ELEGANS (BOULENGER) AND D. ELLIPSIFERA (BOULENGER). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 158 (3): 67-136
  • Harvey, Michael B. and Dirk Embert 2009. Review of Bolivian Dipsas (Serpentes: Colubridae), with Comments on Other South American Species. Herpetological Monographs 22 (1): 54-105 - get paper here
  • Kornacker,P.M. 1999. Checklist and key to the snakes of Venezuela. PaKo-Verlag, Rheinbach, Germany, 270 pp.
  • Natera-Mumaw, Marco; Luis Felipe Esqueda-González & Manuel Castelaín-Fernández 2015. Atlas Serpientes de Venezuela Santiago de Chile, Dimacofi Negocios Avanzados S.A., 456 pp. - get paper here
  • Peters , J. A. 1960. The snakes of the subfamily Dipsadinae. Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan (114): 224 pp. - get paper here
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Part II Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
 
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