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Liopholidophis dimorphus GLAW, NAGY, FRANZEN & VENCES, 2007

IUCN Red List - Liopholidophis dimorphus - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaPseudoxyrhophiidae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLiopholidophis dimorphus GLAW, NAGY, FRANZEN & VENCES 2007
Liopholidophis dimorphus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 395 
DistributionN Madagascar

Type locality: Montagne d’Ambre, northern Madagascar, 12°30′S, 49°10′E, ca. 800 m elevation.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: ZSM 252/2004 (field number FGZC 0491; Figs 3 and 4 in GLAW et al. 2007), adult male (hemipenes not extruded), collected by F. Glaw, M. Puente, R. D. Randrianiaina & A. Razafimanantsoa on 21 February 2004. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Among the species of Liopholidophis, L. dimorphus differs from L. dolicocercus and L. grandidieri by the immaculate whitish venter (vs. black), and from L. rhadinaea by colouration (e.g., presence of light nape spots and dorsal lines in L. rhadinaea). Furthermore, L. dimorphus differs from rhadinaea, dolicocercus, grandidieri and varius by meristic data, especially by the number of ventrals and subcaudals in males, and maximum total length of both sexes (see Tables 2 and 3). Liopholidophis dimorphus mostly resembles L. sexlineatus (Fig. 5) by scale counts just reaching its upper range in the number of ventral scale rows in males (163 vs. 147–163) and the number of subcaudals in females (79 vs. 67–79). Liopholidophis dimorphus differs from L. sexlineatus in having two preoculars (vs. preoculars mostly fused; Table 2), in having the loreal as high as wide (ratio height/width 1.0 in L. dimorphus vs. > 1.0 in L. sexlineatus; Table 2), apparently by a larger maximum size of females (total length 760 mm vs. 649 mm, snout-vent length 536 mm vs. 475 mm), and by colouration. Liopholidophis dimorphus has an overall lighter, reddish brown dorsal colouration (vs. olive brown to blackish in L. sexlineatus), an immaculate venter (vs. mostly mottled), and only two distinct narrow lateral stripes, one starting on the posterior half of the body (vs. a system of continuous, partly diffuse, narrow to broad stripes; Figs 4 and 5). Furthermore, the male of L. dimorphus has mat dorsal scales (shiny in males of L. sexlineatus) and strongly differs from L. sexlineatus genetically (16.1–16.4% uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence in the cytochrome b gene). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe species name ‘dimorphus’ refers to the unusual sexual dimorphism in tail length which is typical for the new species and most other species of Liopholidophis but exceptional among colubrid snakes. 
References
  • D’Cruze, N.; Köhler, J.; Franzen, M & Glaw, F. 2008. A conservation assessment of the amphibians and reptiles of the Forêt d’Ambre Special Reserve, north Madagascar. MADAGASCAR CONSERVATION & DEVELOPMENT 3 (1): 44-54
  • Glaw, F.; Nagy, Z.T.; Franzen, M. & Vences, M. 2007. Molecular phylogeny and systematics of the pseudoxyrhophiine snake genus Liopholidophis (Reptilia, Colubridae): evolution of its exceptional sexual dimorphism and descriptions of new taxa. Zoologica Scripta 36: 291–300
  • 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.
 
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