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Erythrolamprus zweifeli (ROZE, 1959)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Braided Groundsnake, Zweifel’s Ground Snake 
SynonymLeimadophis zweifeli ROZE 1959: 4
Leimadophis zweifeli — ROZE 1964
Liophis reginae zweifeli — DIXON 1983: 3
Liophis reginae zweifeli — KORNACKER 1997
Liophis reginae zweifeli — GORZULA & SEÑARIS 1999
Liophis reginae zweifeli — BOOS 2001
Liophis reginae zweifeli — KORNACKER & NATERA-MUMAW 2008
Liophis zweifeli — RIVAS et al. 2012
Erythrolamprus reginae zweifeli — GRAZZIOTIN et al. 2012: 21
Liophis zweifeli — WALLACH et al. 2014: 395
Erythrolamprus zweifeli — NATERA-MUMAW et al. 2015
Erythrolamprus zweifeli — ASCENSO et al. 2019 
DistributionVenezuela (Trujillo, Falcón, Amazonas, etc.), Trinidad.

Type locality: Rancho Grande in the state of Aragua, Venezuela, at an elevation of 1100 meters, in a cloud forest region.  
TypesHolotype: MBUCV 95, paraypes: AMNH, CM, MBUCV 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Erythrolamprus zweifeli is distinguished from all congeners by unique combination of the following characters: (1) dorsal scale rows 17, reducing to 15 rows after midbody; (2) apical pit single (3) ventrals 138–149 in females and 135–149 in males; (4) subcaudals 73–95 in females and 73–96 in males; (5) dorsum of head black with cream marks on proximal region of the shields; dorsal scales yellowish-cream with apical half black; (6) upper edges of supralabials black, like the head; (7) belly creamish-white with black spots; (8) lateral black spots and lateral-posterior stripe absent or indistinct; (9) ventral surface of tail creamish-white with points or spots near cloacal shield; (10) intrasulcal region of hemipenial body homogeneously ornamented with spines; (11) medial region of asulcate face of hemipenial body ornamented with slightly elongated spines organized in one to three rows, extending to the level of lobe separation; (12) sulcus spermaticus bifurcates at proximal region of hemipenial body; and (13) moderate body size (SVL 129–553 mm). [from Ascenso et al. 2019: 74]

Comparisons. Erythrolamprus zweifeli shares usually cream belly with black spots of square or rhomboid shape with E. reginae, E. macrosomus, E. dorsocorallinus, and eventually E. oligolepis regarding ventral marks. Erythrolamprus zweifeli differs from E. oligolepis by having 17 dorsal scale rows at midbody and ventral rectangular dark spots (vs. 15 dorsal scales rows at midbody and belly usually without marks); from E. reginae and E. macrosomus by having dorsal scales yellowish-cream with apical half black (vs. dorsal ground color regularly dark brown); from E. dorsocorallinus by absence of lateral-posterior stripe and dorsal scales yellowish-cream (vs. presence of lateral-posterior stripe and dorsal scales reddish or bluish-cream). Additionally, E. zweifeli differs from all subspecies of E. epinephelus by having dorsal scales yellowish-cream with apical half black (vs. dorsum of the head cream or olive green, with bands on anterior portion of body, a black spot, and a thick postorbital stripe on each side of head). Regarding the sympatric taxa, E. zweifeli differs from E. cobella, E. taeniogaster and E. breviceps by having a cream belly with rectangular marks occupying an area lower than a ventral scale (vs. cream belly scattered of complete black bands, usually occupying two ventral scales); from E. typhlus and E. poecilogyrus by having 17 dorsal scale rows in the midbody (vs. 19 dorsal scale rows in the midbody); from E. taeniurus by having 135–149 ventral scales (vs. 152–181 ventral scales); from E. miliaris by having dorsum of head black with yellow spots and 59–91 subcaudal scales (vs. dorsum of head regularly yellow and 51–64 subcaudal scales). [from Ascenso et al. 2019: 75] 
CommentSynonymy partly after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970. L. r. zweifeli has been confused with Liophis miliaris (see Kornacker et al. 2002).

Liophis zweifeli differs from L. reginae (meristic and colour characters taken from Dixon 1983a) in having a salt-and-pepper dorsal pattern (vs dorsum with dense pale and dark paravertebral flecking in L. reginae) and in having a higher number of subcaudal scales (69−88 vs 55−78 in L. r. reginae).

Habitat: forest

Diet: stream frogs of the genus Mannophryne, hylid frogs, Leptodactylus validus, salamanders, lizards of the genus Ameiva, and small birds (Murphy et al. 2019) 
EtymologyNamed after Richard George Zweifel (1926–2019), American herpetologist. See Cole & Zweifel 2020 for biographical details. 
  • ASCENSO, ALEXANDRE C.; JOÃO C. L. COSTA, ANA L. C. PRUDENTE 2019. Taxonomic revision of the Erythrolamprus reginae species group, with description of a new species from Guiana Shield (Serpentes: Xenodontinae). Zootaxa 4586 (1): 065–097 - get paper here
  • Boos, H.E.A. 2001. The snakes of Trinidad and Tobago. Texas A&M University Press, 270 pp.
  • COLE, C. J., AND M. K. ZWEIFEL 2020. Obituaries: Life History and Behavior of Richard George Zweifel (1926–2019). Herpetological Review 51: 189-193.
  • Gorzula, Stefan & Senaris, J. Celsa 1999. In: Contribution to the herpetofauna of the Venezuelan Guayana. I: a data base. Scientia Guaianae, Caracas, No. 8 [1998], 269+ pp.; ISBN 980-6020-48-0
  • Hedges SB, Powell R, Henderson RW, Hanson S, and Murphy JC 2019. Definition of the Caribbean Islands biogeographic region, with checklist and recommendations for standardized common names of amphibians and reptiles. Caribbean Herpetology 67: 1–53
  • Kornacker, P. & Natera-Mumaw, M. 2008. Feldherpetologische Daten zu einigen Amphibien- und Reptilienarten im Wolkenwald des “Parque Nacional Henri Pittier”, Rancho Grande, Venezuela. Sauria 30 (3): 21-37 - get paper here
  • Kornacker, Paul M.;Dederichs, Ursula 1997. Herpetologische Eindrücke einer Venezuelareise. Elaphe 5 (3): 87-96
  • Murphy JC, Braswell AL, Charles SP, Auguste RJ, Rivas GA, Borzée A, Lehtinen RM, Jowers MJ 2019. A new species of Erythrolamprus from the oceanic island of Tobago (Squamata, Dipsadidae). ZooKeys 817: 131-157 - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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
  • Roze, J.A. 1959. Taxonomic notes on a collection of Venezuelan reptiles in the American Museum of Natural History. American Museum Novitates (1934): 1-14 - get paper here
  • Roze, Janis A 1964. The snakes of the Leimadophis-Urotheca-Liophis complex from Parque Nacional Henri Pitter (Rancho Grande), Venezuela, with a description of a new genus and species. Senckenbergiana Biologica 45 (3/5): 533-542
  • Señaris, J. Celsa; María Matilde Aristeguieta Padrón, Haidy Rojas Gil y Fernando J. M. Rojas-Runjaic 2018. Guía ilustrada de los anfibios y reptiles del valle de Caracas, Venezuela. Ediciones IVIC, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC). Caracas, Venezuela. 348 pp.
  • Test, Frederic H.;Sexton, Owen J.;Heatwole, Harold 1966. Reptiles of Rancho Grande and vicinity, Estado Aragua, Venezuela. Miscellaneous publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (128): 1-63 - 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.
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