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IUCN Red List - Geophis juliai - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Zurtuche's Earth Snake
S: Minadora de Julia 
SynonymGeophis juliai PÉREZ-HIGAREDA, SMITH & LÓPEZ-LUNA 2001
Geophis semidoliatus — FLORES-VILLELA 1987 (nec DUMÉRIL & BIBRON)
Geophis semidoliatus — PÉREZ-HIGAREDA et al. 1987: 16
Geophis juliai — WILSON & TOWNSEND 2007: 12
Geophis juliai — WALLACH et al. 2014: 303 
DistributionMexico (S Veracruz), 150-600 m elevation.

Type locality: Estación de Biología Tropical Los Tuxtlas, 150 m elevation.  
TypesHolotype: CAR-EBTT (= IBH-LT = UNAM-LT) 2775 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Differing from other members of the semidoliatus group by the combination of 6 supralabials, internasals separate, subcaudals 19-30, light interspaces between dark marks medially usually 3 or more scales in length, and dorsal black marks blotchlike, more or less oval, instead of bandlike, with anterior and posterior edges more or less parallel (Perez-Higareda et al. 2001)

Definition: A member of the semidoliatusg roup (Downs, 1967), distinguished from other groups by the combination of absent anterior temporal, 15 dorsal scales rows, a supraocular on each side, pattern of dorsal blotches or crossbars, and subcaudals 19-34 (Perez-Higareda et al. 2001).

Comparisons: The member of the semidoliatus group most like G. juliai is G. semidoliatus, from which the former differs most conspicuously in having (1) 6 supralabials, (3rd and 4th entering orbit), vs 5 (3rd entering orbit); (2) dorsal dark marks blotchlike, with rounded anterior and posterior edges, vs crossbands, anterior and posterior margins more or less parallel; and (3) the dark blotches mostly touching the edges of the ventrals, vs mostly ending on the 2nd dorsal scale row, or upper part of 1st, not usually contacting ventrals (Figure 1) (Perez-Higareda et al. 2001)

Description of holotype: Internasals present, about 1 / 4th size of prefrontals; latter contacting orbit; supraocular smaller than orbit; no preocular; postoculars 0-2; loreal narrow, elongate, its contact with orbit about 1/2 diameter of latter; 6 supralabials, 3rd and 4th entering orbit, 5th broadly in contact with parietal and separated from orbit, 4th twice as high as long, a tiny scale on one side at junction of suture between 2nd and 3rd supralabials at the loreal; 6-7 infralabials, first four in contact with anterior chinshields, 4th also in contact with posterior pair; latter about half size of anterior pair; latter separated from mental by contact of the 1st infralabials. Dorsal scales weakly keeled posteriorly; 143 ventrals, 28 subcaudals; ana entire. SVL 280mm, tail 34mm.
Coloration: Ground color red above, with 22 black blotches excluding the nuchal collar; latter 8 middorsal scales long, separated from parietals; black blotches 4-6.5 scales long medially, 1-3 on first dorsal scale row, and touching ventrals; light interspaces 2-4 scales long at midline, mostly 3, and median rows there with black posterior edges; head black from rostral to middle of parietals, the color extending laterally over the first three infralabials and part of the 4th, and over the anterior chinshields and part of the posterior pair (Perez-Higareda et al. 2001) 
CommentMimicry: Geophis juliai mimicks Micrurus limbatus and M. diastema (TORRE-LORANCA et al. 2006). 
EtymologyNamed after Prof. Jordi Juliá Zertuche, medical herpetologist who died from a snake bite. 
  • Aguilar-López JL, Luría-Manzano R, Pineda E, Canseco-Márquez L 2021. Selva Zoque, Mexico: an important Mesoamerican tropical region for reptile species diversity and conservation. ZooKeys 1054: 127-153 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • PÉREZ-HIGAREDA, G.; SMITH, H.M. & LÓPEZ-LUNA, M.A. 2001. A new Geophis (Reptilia: Serpentes) from Southern Veracruz, Mexico. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 37 (2): 42-48 - get paper here
  • Torre-Loranca, M.A. de la; Aguirre-León, G. & López-Luna, M.A. 2006. Coralillos verdaderos (Serpentes: Elapidae) y Coralillos falsos (Serpentes: Colubridae) de Veracruz, México. Acta Zoologica Mexicana 22 (3): 11-22 - get paper here
  • Torres-Hernández, LA, Ramírez-Bautista A, Cruz-Elizalde R, Hernández-Salinas U, Berriozabal-Islas C, DeSantis DL, Johnson JD, Rocha A, García-Padilla E, Mata-Silva V, Fucsko LA, and Wilson LD. 2021. The herpetofauna of Veracruz, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 15(2) [General Section]: 72–155 - 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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