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Leptodeira ornata (BOCOURT, 1884)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Northern Cat-eyed Snake
G: Gebänderte Katzenaugennatter
S: Escombrera Manchada 
SynonymComastes ornatus BOCOURT 1884: 141
Hypsiglena ornata – GÜNTHER 1895: 139
Leptodeira affinis – GÜNTHER 1895: 170
Leptodeira albofusca – BOULENGER 1896: 95 (part)
Leptodeira dunckeri – WERNER 1913: 28
Leptodeira annulata annulata – AMARAL 1929: 78 (part)
Pseudoleptodeira ornata – TANNER 1946: 31
Leptodeira septentrionalis ornata — DUELLMAN 1958: 51, 75
Leptodeira ornata — WALLACH et al. 2014
Leptodeira ornata — BARRIO-AMORÓS 2019
Leptodeira ornata — NUÑEZ-ESCALANTE & ACUÑA 2020
Leptodeira ornata — TORRES-CARVAJAL et al. 2020
Leptodeira ornata — COSTA et al. 2022 
DistributionNicaragua, C/E Panama, W Colombia (Antioquia, Atlantico, Caldas, Chocó, Cundinamarca, Norte de Santander, Santander, Valle del Cauca), W Ecuador

Type locality: Isthmus of Darién, Panama  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN 6201, MNHN 1994.1356 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: Leptodeira ornata can be distinguished from their South American congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) dorsal scales 17–21/19–23/13–17; (2) presubocular present; (3) supralabial scales 8–9/7–9, (4) infralabial scales 9–11/9–11; (5) ventral counts in males 170–193 and fe- males 169–194; (6) subcaudal counts in male 81–105 and females 77–99; (7) dorsum of the head brown, generally without spots; (8) occipital region light brown with medial wide line; (9) number of dark brown dorsal blotches in males 29–55 and females 29–56; (10) number of dorsal blotches in tail in male 18–36 and females 14–28; (11) SVL in males 341–543 mm and females 343–646 mm; and (12) tail long in males 27.77% of TTL and females 24.49% of TTL.
Leptodeira ornata differs from L. annulata and L. approximans by the presence of medial wide line (vs. without well-defined occipital dark stains); from L. ashmeadii, L. bakeri, L. larcorum, L. pulchriceps, and L. tarairiu sp. nov. by the presence of a dark butterfly-shaped spot (vs. dark horseshoe-shaped spot in L. ashmeadii, L. pulchriceps, and L. tarairiu sp. nov.; a dark bar-shaped in L. bakeri; and dark butterfly-shaped spot in L. larcorum). (Costa et al. 2022: Supplement S2). 
CommentSynonymy: Mostly after Costa et al. 2022. L. s. ornata has been considered as invalid (D. Mulcahy, pers. comm. 3 March 2013, polyphyletic in Daza et al. 2009), but revalidated by Barrios-Amoros 2019. Note that Torres-Carvajal et al. 2020 redefined and restricted L. ornata to a single monophyletic clade in Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.

Similar species: L. septentrionalis, L. larcorum

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018).

Distribution: see map in Costa et al. 2022: Fig. 12 in Supplement S2. The status of populations in Panama and Ecuador seems to be unresolved (see Costa et al. 2022). 
EtymologyNamed after the ornate pattern of the species. 
  • Almendariz, A. 1991. Anfibios y Reptiles [del Ecuador]. Rev. Politecnica. XVI (3): 89-162.
  • Alvarado, Juan G. Abarca; Esteban Hidalgo-Mora, Rolando Ramírez-Campos, Alejandro Valverde-Castillo 2021. Predation of a Legler's Stream Frog, Duellmanohyla legleri (Anura: Hylidae), by an Ornate Cat-eyed Snake, Leptodeira cf. ornata (Squamata: Dipsadidae). Reptiles & Amphibians 28 (2): 218-219
  • Amaral, A. do 1929. Contribuicao ao conhecimento dos ophidios do Brasil. IV. Lista remissiva dos ophidios do Brasil. Mem. Inst. Butantan, Sao Paulo, 4: 71-125 - get paper here
  • Arteaga AF, Bustamante-Enríquez LM and Guayasamin JM 2013. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. - get paper here
  • Barrio-Amorós, César L. 2019. On the taxonomy of snakes in the genus Leptodeira, with an emphasis on Costa Rican species. IRCF 26 (1): 1–15 - get paper here
  • Bocourt,M.F. 1884. Note sur quelques ophidiens nouveaux, provenant de l'Amerique inter-tropicale. Bull. Soc. Philomath. Paris (7) 8: 133-142 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Costa, J. C., Graboski, R., Grazziotin, F. G., Zaher, H., Rodrigues, M. T., & Prudente, A. L. D. C. 2022. Reassessing the systematics of Leptodeira (Serpentes, Dipsadidae) with emphasis in the South American species. Zoologica Scripta 51, 415– 433;Corrigendum: Zoologica Scripta 51: 614-615 - get paper here
  • Cruz-García K, Barreno M, Cuadrado S, Moretta-Urdiales M, Molina-Moreira N, Salas JA, Torres-Domínguez Á, Narváez AE 2023. Amphibians and reptiles of Isla Santay (Durán, Ecuador). Check List 19(3): 347-369 - get paper here
  • Daza, Juan M.; Eric N. Smith, Vivian P. Páez, Christopher L. Parkinson 2009. Complex evolution in the Neotropics: The origin and diversification of the widespread genus Leptodeira (Serpentes: Colubridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53 (3): 653-667 - get paper here
  • Duellman, W.E. 1958. A monographic study of the colubrid snake genus Leptodeira. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 114 (1): 1-152 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. 1885. Reptilia and Batrachia. Biologia Centrali-Américana. Taylor, & Francis, London, 326 pp. [published in parts from 1885-1902; reprint by the SSAR 1987] - get paper here
  • Medina-Rangel, Guido Fabián 2013. CAMBIO EstACIOnAl En El UsO DE lOs RECURsOs DE lA COMUnIDAD DE REptIlEs En El COMplEJO CEnAgOsO DE ZApAtOsA, DEpARtAMEntO DEl CEsAR (Colombia). Caldasia 35 (1): 103-122 - get paper here
  • Moura, M.R., Costa, H.C., Abegg, A.D., Alaminos, E., Angarita-Sierra, T., Azevedo, W.S., Cabral, H., Carvalho, P., Cechin, S., Citeli, N., Dourado, A.C.M., Duarte, A.F.V., França, F.G.R., Freire, E.M.X., Garcia, P.C.A., Mol, R., Montero, R., Moraes-d 2022. Unwrapping broken tails: Biological and environmental correlates of predation pressure in limbless reptiles. Journal of Animal Ecology. 92(2):324–337 - get paper here
  • Mulcahy, D.G. 2007. Molecular systematics of neotropical cat-eyed snakes: a test of the monophyly of Leptodeirini (Colubridae: Dipsadinae) with implications for character evolution and biogeography. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 92: 483–500 - get paper here
  • Nuñez-Escalante, Raby; David Garro Acuña 2020. Predation of a Plantation Glassfrog, Hyalinobatrachium colymbiphylum (Anura: Centrolenidae), by an Ornate Cat-eyed Snake, Leptodeira ornata (Squamata: Dipsadidae), in Costa Rica. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (3): 489-490 - get paper here
  • Pérez-Santos,C. & Moreno, A.G. 1988. Ofidios de Colombia. Museo reegionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino, Monographie VI, 517 pp.
  • 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
  • Restrepo A, Molina-Zuluaga C, Hurtado JP, Marín CM, Daza JM 2017. Amphibians and reptiles from two localities in the northern Andes of Colombia. Check List 13 (4): 203-237 - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier & José́ Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca 2023. An updated country checklist to the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. REVISTA NICARAGÜENSE DE BIODIVERSIDAD (100): 1-25 - get paper here
  • Tanner, W. W. 1946. A taxonomic study of the genus Hypsiglena. Great Basin Naturalist 5 (3-4): 25-92 [1944] - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • TORRES-CARVAJAL, OMAR; JUAN C. SÁNCHEZ-NIVICELA, VALENTINA POSSE, ELVIS CELI, CLAUDIA KOCH 2020. A new species of cat-eyed snake (Serpentes: Dipsadinae: Leptodeirini) from the Andes of southern Ecuador. Zootaxa 4895 (3): 357–380 - get paper here
  • Valencia-Zuleta A, Jaramillo-Martínez AF, Echeverry-Bocanegra A, Viáfara-Vega R, Hernández-Córdoba O, Cardona-Botero VE, Gutiérrez-Zúñiga J, Castro-Herrera F. 2014. Conservation status of the herpetofauna, protected areas, and current problems in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 8 (2): 1–18 (e87) - 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.
  • Werner, F. 1913. Neue oder seltene Reptilien und Frösche des Naturhistorischen Museums in Hamburg. Reptilien der Ostafrika-Expedition der Hamburger Geographischen Gesellschaft 1911/12. Leiter: Dr. E. Obst. Reptilien und Amphibien von Formosa. Jb. Hamb. wiss. Anst., 30 [1912], 2. Beiheft: 1-39, 40-45, 45-51 - get paper here
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