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Geophis bellus MYERS, 2003

IUCN Red List - Geophis bellus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymGeophis bellus MYERS 2003
Geophis bellus — WILSON & TOWNSEND 2007: 5
Geophis bellus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 300 
DistributionPanama (Panamá), elevation 600–800 m

Type locality: near community of Altos de Pacora (east of Cerro Jefe), Province of Panamá, central Panama. The type locality is a few km northeastward of the summit of Cerro
Jefe, upper Río Pacora drainage, at roughly 9°15’N, 79°22’W.  
TypesHolotype: KU 110703 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: A small, slender member of the sieboldi group of Geophis distinguished from other members of the genus by the combination of (1) dorsal scales in 15 rows, smooth anteriorly but moderately keeled and striated on posterior part of body; (2) anterior temporal present or absent; (3) six supralabials; (4) eye small, going about 3.5–4 times into snout length; (5) dorsal and ventral surfaces uniformly dark (black in life) except for vivid white band across rear of head; and (6) hemipenis unicapitate, about one-fourth bilobed, nearly acalyculate, with calyces confined distally to lobes of the large capitulum. The overall color pattern alone distinguishes Geophis bellus from any other small colubrid in Panama. Other small Panamanian snakes having blackish or dark brown bodies, and heads partially or mostly white, are Enuliophis sclateri, Ninia atrata, and Tantilla albiceps—all of which have pale venters. See Comparisons for discussion and contrast with relevant congeners (including G. betaniensis, G. brachycephalus, G. nigroalbus, and G. talamancae) in MYERS (2003).

See also Savage 2008: 586 for a more recent description. 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin adjective meaning ‘‘pretty’’ and ‘‘charming’’, referring to the appearance of this elegant little snake in life. 
  • Elizondo-Lara, Luis C.; Angel Sosa-Bartuano, Patty Ruback, Julie M. Ray 2015. Range extension and natural history observations of a rare Panamanian snake, Geophis bellus Myers, 2003 (Colubridae: Dipsadinae). Check List 11 (4): 1675 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Myers, C.W. 2003. Rare Snakes—Five New Species from Eastern Panama: Reviews of Northern Atractus and Southern Geophis (Colubridae: Dipsadinae). American Museum Novitates 3391: 1-47 - get paper here
  • Ray, Julie M. and Patty Ruback 2015. Updated checklists of snakes for the provinces of Panamá and Panamá Oeste, Republic of Panama. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (2): 168-188 - get paper here
  • Savage, Jay M.; Watling, James I. 2008. Not so rare snakes: a revision of the Geophis sieboldi group (Colubridae: Dipsadinae) in lower Central America and Colombia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 153(3):561-599 - 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.
  • WILSON, L.D. & J.H. TOWNSEND 2007. A checklist and key to the snakes of the genus Geophis (Squamata: Colubridae: Dipsadinae), with commentary on distribution and conservation. Zootaxa 1395: 1-31 - get paper here
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