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Dipsas peruana (BOETTGER, 1898)

IUCN Red List - Dipsas peruana - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Peru Snail-eater, Peruvian Snail-Eater
Many-scaled Snail-eater (polylepis)
Venezuela Snail-eater (latifrontalis)
Boettger's Snail-eater (boettgeri)
S: Caracolera Peruana 
SynonymLeptognathus peruana BOETTGER 1898: 128
Leptognathus boettgeri WERNER 1901:11
Leptognathus boliviana WERNER 1909: 240
Leptognathus polylepis BOULENGER 1912: 422
Sibynomorphus peruanus — BARBOUR & NOBLE 1920:620
S.[ibynomorphus] bolivianus — AMARAL 1923:93
Sibynomorphus mikanii — AMARAL 1925:9 (in part)
Sibynomorphus mikanii peruanus — AMARAL 1930a:31 (in part)
Tropidodipsas polylepis — AMARAL 1930:31
Dipsas latifrontalis — PETERS 1960:103 (in part)
Dipsas polylepis — PETERS 1960: 96
Dipsas boettgeri — PETERS 1960: 98
Dipsas peruana — PETERS 1960: 110
Dipsas peruana — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970:89
Dipsas mikanii peruanus — SCHMIDT & WALKER 1943: 288
Dipsas peruana — HARVEY & EMBERT 2008: 79
Dipsas peruana — RIVAS et al. 2012
Dipsas peruana — WALLACH et al. 2014: 233
Dipsas peruana — ARTEAGA et al. 2018 
DistributionSE Peru (Amazonas, Cajamarca, Pasco, Puno, Loreto, Cusco), Colombia (Boyaca); elevation 1700-2100 m

Type locality: Santa Ana, Cuzco Province, Peru

boettgeri: S Peru, N Bolivia; Type locality: Chanchamayo, Peru.

Leptognathus boliviana: Bolivia; Type locality: “Beni River, Bolivia”;

latifrontalis: Venezuela (Lara, Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Federal, Miranda, Vargas), S Ecuador, Colombia [Castro,F. (pers. comm.)]; Type locality: Aricagua, Edo. Mérida, Venezuela.

polylepis: Peru; Type locality: Huancabamba, Peru, elevation above 3000 ft.  
TypesHolotype: SMF 20801, female
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.2078 (polylepis)
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.2077 [latifasciatus]
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.20.98, adult female [latifrontalis]
Holotype: ZMH [Leptognathus boliviana] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Dipsas peruana 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) 8–9 supralabials with 4–6 or 3–5 contacting orbit; (4) one pair of infralabials in contact behind symphysial; (5) 177–200 ventrals in males, 180–203 in females; (6) 75–127 divided subcaudals in males, 79–105 in females; (7) dorsal and ventral ground color brown to dark brown (light brown in juveniles) with 33–43 blackish brown to complete black, white to cream edged circular to vertically elliptical blotches that are longer than interspaces; head dark brown with dingy cream reticulations and different degrees of whitish edging on the labial scales, and a thin (1–3 scales long) white to light grayish brown irregular nuchal collar; dorsal blotches extending marginally onto ventrals and rarely fusing midventrally; (8) 199 mm SVL in males, 610–725 mm in females; (9) 85 mm TL in males, 155–241 mm in females.

Comparisons. Dipsas peruana sensu stricto is compared to species previously subsumed under D. peruana sensu lato: D. latifrontalis, D. palmeri, and D. klebbai. From D. latifrontalis and D. palmeri, it differs in having dorsal blotches along the entire body similar in length or longer than interspaces (shorter than interspaces in D. latifrontalis and D. palmeri), and in having melanized interspaces in some adult individuals. With the exception of BMNH 1946.1.2078, specimens of D. peruana can be separated from specimens of D. klebbai by possessing at least one of the following characteristics: posterior body blotches similar in length or marginally longer than interspaces (twice to four times as long in D. klebbai); short circular to vertically elliptical body blotches usually only up to 4–7 vertebral scales long; melanized interspaces; dorsal surface of the head not completely black; and dorsal body blotches rarely fused ventrally. 
CommentSynonymy after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970 and HARVEY & EMBERT 2008. Amaral (1929) synonymized L. praeornata Werner, 1909, from Venezuela, with Sibynomorphus incertus. Fernandes et al. (2002) synonymized D. latifasciata with D. polylepis. 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. palmeri (as well as latifasciata and latifrontalis) from the synonymy of peruana.

Distribution: peruana not in Venezuela but latifrontalis is (Luis Esqueda, pers. comm., 21 April 2016, see Natera-Mumaw et al. 2015 for details). Not in Ecuador fide Torres-Carvajal et al. 2019: 299 ff).

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyD. peruana has been named after its type locality, D. boettgeri after Oskar Boettger (1844-1910), herpetologist at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main. 
  • 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
  • Boettger, O. 1898. Katalog der Reptilien-Sammlung im Museum der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Frankfurt/M. 2.Teil (Schlangen). [type catalogue] Frankfurt/M (Gebr. Knauer), i-ix + 1-160. - 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
  • Boulenger, George A. 1912. Descriptions of new reptiles from the Andes of South America, preserved in the British Museum. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (8) 10: 420-424 - get paper here
  • Boulenger,G. A. 1913. Description of a new snake discovered by Mr. A. E. Pratt in eastern Peru. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (8) 12: 72 - get paper here
  • CATENAZZI, A., LEHR, E. & VON MAY, R. 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Manu National Park and its buffer zone, Amazon basin and eastern slopes of the Andes, Peru. Biota Neotropica 13 (4): 269-283
  • Esqueda,L.F. & La Marca,E. 1999. New Reptilian species records from the Cordillera de Mérida, Andes of Venezuela. Herpetological Review 30 (4): 238-240 - get paper here
  • Fernandes, R.; Fernandes, D.S. & Passos, P. 2002. Leptognathus latifasciatus BOULENGER 1913, a junior synonym of Dipsas polylepis (BOULENGER 1912) (Serpentes, Colubridae). Bol. Mus. Nac (n.s.) Rio de Janeiro (493): 1-7
  • 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
  • Harvey, Michael B. 2008. New and Poorly Known Dipsas (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Northern South America. Herpetologica 64 (4): 422-451 - get paper here
  • Harvey, Michael B. and Dirk Embert 2008. Review of Bolivian Dipsas (Serpentes: Colubridae), with Comments on Other South American Species. Herpetological Monographs 22 (1): 54-105 - get paper here
  • Harvey, Michael B.; Gilson Rivas Fuenmayor, José Rances Caicedo-Portilla, and José Vicente Rueda-Almonacid 2009. Systematics of the Enigmatic Dipsadine Snake Tropidodipsas perijanensis Alemán (Serpentes: Colubridae) and Review of Morphological Characters of Dipsadini. Herpetological Monographs 22 (1): 106-132 - get paper here
  • KOCH, CLAUDIA; PABLO J. VENEGAS, ROY SANTA CRUZ, WOLFGANG BÖHME 2018. Annotated checklist and key to the species of amphibians and reptiles inhabiting the northern Peruvian dry forest along the Andean valley of the Marañón River and its tributaries. Zootaxa 4385 (1): 001–101 - get paper here
  • Kornacker,P.M. 1999. Checklist and key to the snakes of Venezuela. PaKo-Verlag, Rheinbach, Germany, 270 pp.
  • Lancini,A.R. & Kornacker,P.M. 1989. Die Schlangen von Venezuela. Armitano Editores C.A., Caracas, 1-381
  • Manzanilla, Jesús, Enrique La Marca and Luis Felipe Esqueda 2001. Geographic distribution. Dipsas latifrontalis. Herpetological Review 32 (3):195 - get paper here
  • Pérez-Santos,C. & Moreno, A.G. 1988. Ofidios de Colombia. Museo reegionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, Monographie VI, 517 pp.
  • Peters , J. A. 1960. The snakes of the subfamily Dipsadinae. Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan (114): 224 pp. - get paper here
  • RIVAS, GILSON A.; CÉSAR R. MOLINA, GABRIEL N. UGUETO, TITO R. BARROS, CÉSAR L. BAR- RIO-AMORÓS & PHILIPPE J. R. KOK 2012. Reptiles of Venezuela: an updated and commented checklist. Zootaxa 3211: 1–64 - get paper here
  • Schmidt,K.P. & WALKER Jr. ,W.F. 1943. Snakes of the Peruvian coastal region. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. nat. Hist., Chicago, 24: 297-327 - get paper here
  • Venegas, Pablo J.; Giuseppe Gagliardi-Urrutia y Marco Odicio 2014. ANFIBIOS Y REPTILES. In: Pitman et al. 2014, Peru: Cordillera Escalera-Loreto. The Field Museum, Chicago - 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.
  • Werner, FRANZ 1901. Reptilien und Batrachier aus Peru und Bolivien. Abhandl. Ber. Zool. Anthrop. Mus. Dresden, 9 (2): 1-14 [1900] - get paper here
  • Werner,F. 1909. Über neue oder seltene Reptilien des Naturhistorischen Museums in Hamburg. Jahrb. Hamb. wiss. Anst. suppl. 2 (Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hamb. 1908) 26: 205-247 - get paper here
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