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Erythrolamprus ornatus (GARMAN, 1887)

IUCN Red List - Erythrolamprus ornatus - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Saint Lucia Groundsnake, Saint Lucia racer 
SynonymDromicus ornatus GARMAN 1887: 281
Dromicus giganteus JAN 1863 (nomen nudum)
Liophis ornatus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 625
Liophis ornatus — POWELL et al. 1996: 88
Erythrolamprus ornatus — GRAZZIOTIN et al. 2012
Liophis ornatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 384 
DistributionSt. Lucia, Maria I (Lesser Antilles)

Type locality: St. Lucia.  
TypesSyntypes: MCZ 6135-6137, BMNH 1946.1.9.8, BMNH 1946.1.9.18. 
DiagnosisOriginal description of GARMAN (1887): Rows 17; one pore; ventrals 190, four 191 each, 194; anal bifid; subcaudals 86, 85, 88, 86, 91 pairs. This handsome serpent is much like the Couresse of Martinique. Its tail appears to be a trifle shorter; its colors distinguish it very readily. From neck to end of tail it has a median band of brown, which on the body is about six scales wide and which contains two rows of round or squarish spots of white larger than a single scale and separated from each other by spaces of like width. On the third row there is a dark stripe in which the scales are marked with a yellow spot. Tlle anterior edges of the ventrals are black. A black band behind the eye; a yellow spot on the lateral edge of each parietal; two or three transverse yellow streaks on the snout. Ground color of labials and lower surface yellowish or white. D[romicus] cursor has a white vitta at each side of a black band of five or six scales in width; anteriorly the vitta is more or less broken into spots but the included band lacks the two series of spots. 
CommentFor illustrations see Dixon, 1981; Geoghegan and Renard, 1985. 
EtymologyThe Latin ornata, -us, = decorated" or "ornamented," refers to the ornate coloration. 
  • Dixon, J.R. 1981. The neotropical colubrid snake genus Liophis: the eastern Caribbean complex. Copeia 1981 (2): 296-304 - get paper here
  • Dixon, James R. 1989. A key and checklist to the neotropical snake genus Liophis with country lists and maps. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (79): 1-40 - get paper here
  • Garman, S. 1887. On West Indian reptiles in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, Mass. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 24: 278-286. - get paper here
  • Geoghegan, T., and Renard, Y. 1985. Maria Islands Nature Reserve Interpretive Guide. ENCAMP, St. Lucia National Trust: 32pp.
  • Grazziotin, Felipe G.; Hussam Zaher, Robert W. Murphy, Gustavo Scrocchi, Marco A. Benavides, Ya-Ping Zhang and Sandro L. Bonatto 2012. Molecular phylogeny of the New World Dipsadidae (Serpentes: Colubroidea): a reappraisal. Cladistics DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-0031.2012.00393.x - get paper here
  • Malhotra, A. & Thorpe, R.S. 1999. Reptiles & Amphibians of the Eastern Caribbean. MacMillan, London & Oxford
  • Parker, H. W. 1936. Some extinct snakes of the West Indies. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 10(18): 227-233 - get paper here
  • Powell, R., R. W. Henderson, K. Adler, And H. A. Dundee. 1996. An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. In R. Powell and R. W. Henderson (eds.), Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz, p.51-93. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca (New York). Contributions to Herpetology, volume 12. [book review in Salamandra 36 (2): 136]
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Smith, H M; Dixon, J R; Wallach V 1993. Dromicus giganteus Jan (Reptilia: Serpentes) is a nomen nudum. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 29 (3): 77-79 - 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.
  • Williams, Robert J.; Toby N. Ross, Matthew N. Morton, Jennifer C, Daltry and Lenn Isidore, 2016. Update on the natural history and conservation status of the Saint Lucia racer, Erythrolamprus ornatus Garman, 1887 (Squamata: Dipsadidae). Herpetology Notes 9: 157-162 - get paper here
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