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Hypsirhynchus melanichnus (COPE, 1862)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Alsophiini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Hispaniolan Olive Racer, La Vega Racer 
SynonymAlsophis melanichnus COPE 1862: 76
Alsophis melanichnus — GARMAN 1887: 283
Alsophis melanichnus — COCHRAN 1941: 351
Alsophis melanichnus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 572
Alsophis melanichnus — CROTHER 1999
Alsophis melanichnus — POWELL et al. 1999
Ocyophis melanichnus — ZAHER et al. 2009
Hypsirhynchus melanichnus — HEDGES et al. 2009
Ocyophis melanichnus — GRAZZIOTIN et al. 2012
Ocyophis melanichnus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 481 
DistributionHispaniola (Haiti, W Dominican Republic)

Type locality: Near Jérémie, Département de la Grand'Anse, Haiti.  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 1522 fide Cochran 1941, but this may be in error as Vertnet has MCZ R-1522 = Terrapene trimymis. Other specimens: MCZ fide Cochran 1941. 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Maximum SVL about 630 mm; ventrals about 189 (male); sub- caudals about 108 (male); dorsal scale rows at midbody 17; supralabials 8 or 9; infralabials 10; preoculars 1/1; postoculars 2/2; temporals 2+2/2+2; loreals 1/1. Dorsum (as preserved) uniform deep olive-green; white lateral stripe on neck, continuing on adjoining margins of scale rows 4 and 5 as far as midbody, where stripe disappears; distinct black line between scale rows 5 and 6, disappearing at midbody; labials suffused with lighter color; some white blotches on chin; venter somewhat paler olive-green than dorsum, most ventrals edged with narrow, light border (Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 572). 
CommentIllustrations: Cochran, 1941.

Conservation: Possibly extinct. 
  • Cochran, D.M. 1941. The herpetology of Hispaniola. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 177: vii + 398 pp. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1862. Synopsis of the species of Holcosus and Ameiva, with diagnoses of new West Indian and South American Colubridae. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 14: 60-82. - 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
  • 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
  • Hedges, S. Blair; Arnaud Couloux; Vidal, Nicolas 2009. Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of West Indian racer snakes of the Tribe Alsophiini (Squamata, Dipsadidae, Xenodontinae). Zootaxa 2067: 1-28 - get paper here
  • Powell, Robert ; Henderson, Robert W 1998. Alsophis melanichnus Cope. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 660: 1-2 - get paper here
  • Powell, Robert, José A. Ottenwalder, Sixto J. Incháustegui, Robert W. Henderson and Richard E. Glor. 2000. Amphibians and reptiles of the Dominican Republic: Species of special concern. Oryx 34 (2): 118-128 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • 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.
  • Zaher, Hussam; Grazziotin, Felipe Gobbi; Cadle, John E.; Murphy, Robert W.; Moura-Leite, Julio Cesar de; Bonatto, Sandro L 2009. Molecular phylogeny of advanced snakes (Serpentes, Caenophidia) with an emphasis on South American Xenodontines: a revised classification and descriptions of new taxa. Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo) 49 (11): 115-153 - get paper here
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