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Eryx jaculus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaBoidae (Erycinae, Erycidae), Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Javelin Sand Boa
G: (Westliche) Sandboa
Russian: Западный удавчик
Italian: boa delle sabbie 
SynonymAnguis Jaculus LINNAEUS 1758: 228
Boa turcica OLIVIER 1801: 199
Eryx cerastes DAUDIN 1803
Eryx jaculus — DAUDIN 1803: 257
Eryx familiaris EICHWALD 1831: 176
Eryx jaculus familiaris EICHWALD 1831
Eryx turcicus — REUSS 1834: 132
Eryx jaculus — REUSS 1834: 133
Eryx jaculus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 463
Eryx jaculus var. teherana JAN 1865: 73
Eryx jaculus — BOULENGER 1892: 75
Eryx jaculus — BOULENGER 1893: 125
Eryx jaculus — MEHELY 1894: 83
Eryx persicus NIKOLSKY 1907: 290 (fide MCDIARMID et al. 1999)
Eryx jaculus jaculus — TZAREVSKY 1915
Eryx jaculus familiaris — TZAREVSKY 1916
Eryx jaculus proprius TZAREVSKY 1916
Eryx jaculus urmianus ROSTOMBEKOV 1928
Eryx jaculus turcicus — WERNER 1935: 108
Eryx johnii persicus — STULL 1935: 407
Eryx johnii persicus — STULL 1935
Eryx johnii persicus — SMITH 1943
Eryx jaculus familiaris — STIMSON 1969
Eryx turcicus — SCHNEIDER 1983
Eryx jaculus jaculus — GASPERETTI 1988: 206
Eryx jaculus jaculus — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Eryx jaculus — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 473
Eryx jaculus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 205
Eryx johnii persicus — JONES 2004
Eryx jaculus turcicus — JONES 2004
Eryx jaculus — KWET & TRAPP 2015
Eryx jaculus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 288
Eryx jaculus jaculus — RHADI et al. 2017
Eryx jaculus turcicus — ZARRINTAB et al. 2017
Eryx jaculus familiaris — RHADI et al. 2017
Eryx jaculus — REYNOLDS & HENDERSON 2018: 34 
Distributionjaculus: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Syria, east to the Suez Canal; Romania, Italy (Sicily), Macedonia, Cyprus

turcicus: SE Europe including Mediterranean islands (Corfu = Corfou etc., Asia Minor, Caucasus, east to Iran and Iraq; Jordan, N Saudi Arabia; Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece (incl. Limnos, Paros, Antiparos, Kalymnos, Corfu = Corfou, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Milos: Kimolos, Patmos, Leros), Soviet Union, Asia Minor, S Russia, S Armenia, E Republic of Georgia, Azerbaijan.

Type locality: near Baku, Azerbaijan (“Egypt” fide STIMSON 1969). Lectotype locality: Rosette (now Rashid), Nile delta, Egypt (fide Erik Åhlander, pers. comm. 10 May 2012).  
TypesLectotype: NRM 12 (desgnated by Amatoly Tokar), collected by Fredric Hasselquist on 3 July 1750 (fide Erik Åhlander, pers. comm. 10 May 2012). Original holotype presumed lost fide KLUGE 1993; other former syntypes: NRM (Swedish Museum of Natural History)
Syntypes: MSNG 6604 [teherana]
Holotype: ZISP 10343 [Eryx persicus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Kleine (400 mm: E. elegans) bis größere (1000 mm: E. johnii) Schlangen mit nicht vom Hals abgesetztem Kopf, der oberseits mit zahlreichen kleinen, unregelmäßigen und glatten Schuppen bedeckt ist. Schnauzenschild sehr groß und weit auf die Kopfoberseite heraufreichend. Subcaudalia sämtlich oder größtenteils nur eine mediane, unpaare Reihe bildend. Auge klein bis sehr klein, mit senkrecht elliptischer Pupille. Am Schädel Nasalia deutlich länger als Frontalia. Vordere Zähne des Oberwie des Unterkiefers vergrößert (SMITH 1943*, TERENTJEW und CERNOW 1949*, BANNIKOW et al. 1977*). Gegenüber der nicht von allen Autoren als eigenes Genus akzeptierten Gattung Gongylophis sind Schädelmerkmale dIagnostisch (TOKAR 1989, zit. unter den 2 folgenden Artkapiteln): Pterygoid-Mittelkamm breit und scharf, von der Zahnreihe getrennt (versus schmal und in diese übergehend bei Gongylophis) (Anonymous in Böhme et al. 1993, Handbuch 3/I: 33). 
CommentDistribution: Reports from Cyprus questionable (BAIER et al. 2009 and pers. comm.). The northeastern populations of E. elegans are conspecific with E. jaculus (ESKANDARZADEH et al. 2013, Rastegar-Pouyani et al. 2014). For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013 and Bar et al. 2021.

Subspecies: Tokar and Obst (1993) have shown that the Caucasus population of E. jaculus, described by Eichwald (1831) as E. familiaris and recognized by Czarevsky (1916) as a subspecies of E. jaculus, is not distinguishable from southeast European-Turkish populations, heretofore referred to as E. j. turcicus. No subspecies are recognized by Reynolds and Henderson 2018 either, although Zarrintab et al. 2017 recognized 2 subspecies and provided a key to them (although turcicus is not shown in their map).

Synonymy: McDIARMID et al. (1999) list Boa turcica as a synonym of E. jaculus.

Type species: Boa turcica OLIVIER 1801 is the type species of the genus Eryx DAUDIN 1803 (designated by FITZINGER 1843).

Type genus. Eryx Daudin 1803 is the type genus (and sole genus) of the family Erycidae Bonaparte 1831 (Pyron et al. 2014).

Key to the species of Eryx: Das 1991: 95. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin iaculum = javelin, iacere = throwing, for its ability to quickly grab or bite (Werner 1982, Wortelemente).

The genus name derives from the Latin Eryx (genitive Erycis), the name of a mountain in the NW corner of Sicily, with a famous temple to Venus at its top; also an eponymous hero, son of Venus, defeated by Heracles in a boxing-match. According to GOTCH (1986: 128) «There is probably no special reason for this generic name» as a number of names from classical mythology has been used «without thought of any physical significance». The gender of the genus is masculine [from LANZA & NISTRI 2005]. 
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