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Lycodonomorphus laevissimus (GÜNTHER, 1862)

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Dusky-bellied Water Snake 
SynonymNatrix laevissima GÜNTHER 1862: 124
Neusterophis laevissima — GÜNTHER 1863: 16
Tropidonotus laevissimus — BOULENGER 1893: 226
Tropidonotus laevissimus — FITZSIMONS 1912: 82
Neusterophis laevissima — FITZSIMONS 1946
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus — LOVERIDGE 1958
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus — FITZSIMONS 1966
Grayia lubrica SCLATER (fide FITZSIMONS 1966)
Hydrablabes melanogaster WERNER 1923
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus natalensis RAW 1973
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus fitzsimonsi RAW 1973
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 406
Lycodonomorphus laevissimus — KEATES et al. 2022 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Natal, SE Transvaal)

fitzsimonsii: Swaziland; Type locality: “Lothair, Ermelo District, SE Transvaal”

natalensis: Republic of South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal); Type locality: “Londen Sream, Hillary, Durban, Natal at an altitude of 65 m asl”

Type locality: 'Probably from East Indies', in error.  
TypesType: BMNH 1946.1.12.78 (and possibly additional specimens)
Holotype: DNMNH (= TM) 21261, adult female [fitzsimonsi]
Holotype: NMZB (formerly UM = Umtali Museum) 27057, adult female [natalensis] 
CommentSynonymy after BOULENGER 1893. Haagner & Branch 1994 consider that only the nominate form is valid, which was followed by Branch 1998 and Maritz in Bates et al. 2014: 366.

Habitat. Fairly common in streams and reservoirs; almost entirely aquatic. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Boycott, R.C. 1992. An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • FitzSimons, F.W. 1912. The snakes of South Africa : their venom and the treatment of snake bite. William Clowes and Sons, London, 547 pp. - get paper here
  • Fitzsimons, V. 1946. Notes on some African Snakes, including a discription of a new subspecies of Xenocalamus. Annals Transvaal Mus. 20 (4): 379-394 - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Günther, A. 1862. On new species of snakes in the collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (3) 9: 124-132 - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1863. On Atheris burtonii, a new snake from West Africa. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1863: 16-18 - get paper here
  • Haagner G V. Branch W R. 1994. A taxonomic revision of the dusky-bellied water snake, Lycodonomorphus laevissimus (Serpentes: Colubridae). Journal of African Zoology 108 (3): 237- 250
  • Loveridge,A. 1958. Revision of five african snake genera. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 119: 1-198 (141) - get paper here
  • RABIEGA, P. S. 2018. Lycodonomorphus laevissimus (Günther, 1862). African Herp News (68): 59-61 - get paper here
  • Raw, L.R.G. 1973. A review of the dusky-bellied water snake, Lycodonomorphus laevissimus (Günther), with descriptions of two new subspecies. Ann. Natal Mus. 21: 713-718.
  • Reeves, B., Brooke, C. F., Venter, J. A., & Conradie, W. 2022. The Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mpofu-Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve Complex in the Winterberg Mountains, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. African Journal of Wildlife Research, 52(1) - get paper here
  • Ukuwela, K.D.B., de Silva, A., Sivaruban, A. et al. 2022. Diversity, distribution, and natural history of the marine snakes of Sri Lanka. Marine Biodiversity 52, 24 (2022) - 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.
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