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Lycophidion capense (SMITH, 1831)

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesLycophidion capense capense (SMITH 1831)
Lycophidion capense loveridgei LAURENT 1968 
Common NamesE: Cape Wolf Snake
multimaculatum: Spotted Wolf Snake
G: Kap-Wolfsnatter 
SynonymLycodon capensis SMITH 1831: 18
Lycophidium capense — BOULENGER 1893: 339
Lycophidium capense — ANGEL 1925
Lycophidium capense — SCORTECCI 1931: 16
Lycophidium capense — PERRET 1961
Lycophidion capense vermiculatum LAURENT 1968
Lycophidion capense vermiculatum — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 25
Lycophidion capense — BROADLEY 1998
Lycophidion capense — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 479
Lycophidion capense — WALLACH et al. 2014: 408
Lycophidion capense — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 296

Lycophidion capense capense (SMITH 1831)
Lydodon capensis SMITH 1831
Lycodon horstockii SCHLEGEL (fide WILLIAMS & WALLACH 1989: 89)
Lycophidion horstokii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 412
Lycophidion Horstockii — BOCAGE 1866: 49
Lycophidium Horstokii — FISCHER 1884: 10 (?)
Lycophidion horstokii — GÜNTHER 1888
Lycophidion capense capense — LOVERIDGE 1936
Lycophidion capense capense — MERTENS 1938
Lycophidion capense capense — BOGERT 1942
Lycophidion capense capense — LOVERIDGE 1955
Lycophidion capense vermiculatum LAURENT 1968
Lycophidion capense capense — BOYCOTT 1992
Lycophidion capense capense — AUERBACH 1987: 156
Lycophidion capense capense — BROADLEY 1996
Lycophidion capense capense — BROADLEY & BLAYLOCK 2013
Lycophidion capense capense — BATES et al. 2014: 369

Lycophidion capense loveridgei LAURENT 1968
? Lycophidion semicinctum SCORTECCI 1931: 16 (not DUMÉRIL & BIBRON)
Lycophidion capense loveridgei LAURENT 1968: 476
Lycophidion capense loveridgei — RASMUSSEN 1981: 175
Lycophidion capense loveridgei — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 25
Lycophidion capense loveridgei — BROADLEY & HUGHES 1993
Lycophidion capense loveridgei — BROADLEY 1996 
DistributionNamibia, Botswana, E Republic of South Africa (Transvaal, Natal, Cape, Swaziland), Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, W Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan (Jumhūriyyat), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), S Egypt, Zambia, Sudan (Jumhūriyyat), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), N/E/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Malawi, Central African Republic, Cameroon

Type locality: Cape Town and Port Elizabeth; (“Kurrichane” (= Rustenburg district, Transvaal) (Loveride 1957, see Broadley 1996); restricted to Port Elizabeth by De Waal 1978.

loveridgei: S Somalia to NE Tanzania , incl. Zanzibar; Type locality: Amani, Usambara Mts., Tanzania.

vermiculatum (synonym): S Tanzania, Malawi, N/C Mozambique, border to Zimbabwe; Type locality: Mbanja, near Lindi, Tanzania.  
TypesHolotype: lost (fide Fitzsimons 1937, Broadley 1996)
Holotype: MCZ 23196 [loveridgei]
Holotype: BMNH 1940-1-18-74, male; paratypes: BMNH, MCZ [pembanum]
Holotype: MCZ 48255 [vermiculatum] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (capense). Nostril pierced at the posterior edge of the nasal, bordered by a postnasal that is in contact with the first supralabial. Dorsal scales with single apical pits in 17- 17-15 rows, the reduction taking place well before the vent; ventrals 159-200 in males, 168-205 in females; subcaudals 29-52 in males, 24-42 in females (Broadley 1996).

Coloration (capense). Dark brown to black above, the head with white stippling that often coalesces to form vermiculations, each dorsal scale usually tipped with white, especially laterally. Ventrum white in juveniles and in most adults from the southern part of the range, others develop dark ventral (Broadley 1996).

Diagnosis (jacksoni). Nostril pierced at the posterior edge of the nasal, bordered by a postnasal that is in contact with the first supralabial. Dorsal scales with single apical pits in 17- 17-15 rows, the reduction taking place well before the
vent; ventrals 173-199 in males, 178-200 in females; subcaudals 36-45 in males, 25-38 in females (Broadley 1996).

Coloration (jacksoni): Dark brown; an ill-defined pale band round the snout, but top of head usually immaculate; each dorsal scale with a pale apical spot. Juveniles pale below, but ventrum darkens from the tail anteriorly, so that adults are dark below except for the throat and free edges of the ventrals. Skull elongate, with well developed parietal crests which are convergent posteriorly (Broadley 1996).

Diagnosis (loveridgei). Nostril pierced at the posterior edge of the nasal, bordered by a postnasal that is in contact with the first supralabial. Dorsal scales with single apical pits in 17- 17-15 rows, the reduction taking place well before the vent; ventrals 192-211 in males, 201-221 in females; subcaudals 48-58 in males, 40-55 in females (Broadley 1996).

Coloration (loveridgei): Dark brown to black, top of head with white stippling or vermiculation, dorsal scales with a white tip or border; ventrum dark in adults, throat pale. Sometimes uniform jet black (Barbour & Loveridge, 1928).
Skull elongate, with strong parietal crests which are confluent posteriorly (Broadley 1996). 
CommentSubspecies: Lycophidion capense multimaculatum BOETTGER 1888 and Lycophidion capense pembanum LAURENT 1968 have been elevated to full species status. Trape 2021 removed Lycophidion capense jacksoni from the synonymy of L. capense without justification but described a new subspecies and announced a forthcoming paper with a formal resurrection.

Synonymy: Lycophidion capense vermiculatum LAURENT 1968 has been synonymized with L. capense by BROADLEY 1996. Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic name Jacobclarkus Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected its use instead of Lycophidion.

Map: Laurent 1968: 482, Broadley 1996 (including subspecies)

Distribution: Has been erroneously listed for Benin but does not occur there (Hughes 2013). Not in Angola (fide Marques et al. 2018). Most reports of Lycophidion capense from Angola (e.g. Schmidt 1933; Monard 1937:117; Bogert 1940; Hellmich 1957, 1957) refer to Lycophidion multimaculatum.

Type species: Lycodon capensis SMITH 1831: 18 is the type species of the genus Lycophidion FITZINGER 1843: 27. The genus name is neuter.

Key: Broadley 1996 has a key to the species of Lycophidion in Southern Africa. 
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