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Macroprotodon cucullatus (GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE, 1827)

IUCN Red List - Macroprotodon cucullatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: False Smooth Snake
G: Kaputzennatter, Kapuzennatter
D: Mutslang
Italian: colubro dal cappuccio 
SynonymColuber cucullatus GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE 1827: 148, 151
Coronella cucullata — GÜNTHER 1858: 35 (part.)
Lycognathus cucullatus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 926 (part.)
Lycognathus textilis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 931
Coronella textilis — STRAUCH 1862: 67
Psammophylax cucullatus — JAN & SORDELLI 1866: 312
Psammophylax cucullatus var. textilis — JAN & SORDELLI 1866: 312
Macroprotodon cucullatus — BOULENGER 1891: 149 (part.)
Macroprotodon textilis — ROCHEBRUNE 1884: 160
Coronella cucullata — BOETTGER 1885
Macroprotodon cucullatus — BOULENGER 1913
Macroprotodon cucullatus melanocephala — MOSAUER & WALLIS 1927: 305
Macroprotodon cucullatus cucullatus — PASTEUR & BONS 1960: 87 (part.)
Macroprotodon cucullatus mauritanicus — BUSACK & MCCOY 1990: 268 (part.)
Macroprotodon cucullatus — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 496
Macroprotodon cucullatus — CARRANZA et al. 2004
Macroprotodon cucullatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 419
Macroprotodon cucullatus textilis — NICOLA 2019
Macroprotodon brevis textilis — MARTÍNEZ et al. 2019 
Distribution[not corrected for removal of brevis and ibericus]

S Spain (introduced to Mallorca, Menorca),
Italy (Lampedusa, Pelagie islands [E. RAZZETTI, pers. comm.]),
Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel

Type locality: Lower Egypt  
TypesHolotype: lost fide Busack & McCoy 1990: 268.
Holotype: ZMB 10096 [Macroprotodon maroccanus PETERS 1882] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Macroprotodon characterised by four or five maxillary teeth in the series preceding the fangs. Head pattern variable, body pattern usually tessellated-reticulated (the textilis) pattern. Midbody scales in 19 rows. Sixth supralabial usually not in contact with parietal. Usually four posterior infralabials. Separable from M. mauritanicus mainly in the maxillary tooth count; 4 or 5 as opposed to 3 and from that race and the new species (see below) in its possession of the 'textilis' pattern in contrast to the undifferenti ated or the 'taeniatus' pattern. (Wade 2001).

Wade 2001 provided a detailed redescription of Lycognathus textilis. 
CommentSynonymy mostly after WADE (2001). CARRANZA et al. (2004) recognizes 4 species of Macroprotodon: M. cucullatus, M. brevis, M. mauritanicus, and M. abubakeri WADE 2001. They also recognized the subspecies M. b. brevis and M. b. ibericus and M. c. cucullatus and M. c. textilis while WADE (2001) synonymizes ibericus with brevis. In fact, CARRANZA et al. (2004) suggested that the textilis clade is paraphyletic with brevis and both could be renamed “textilis” as this is the older name.

Subspecies: Macroprotodon cucullatus mauritanicus GUICHENOT 1850 is now considered as valid species by most authors.

Illustration of M. c. brevis in Schlüter (2004).

Distribution: Not in Mauritania fide Padial (pers. comm.). The specimens from Lampedusa have been traditionally assigned to Macroprotodon cucullatus textilis on a morphological basis but Faraone et a. 2020 present genetic data showing that the Lampedusan false smooth snake belongs to a clade shared with a single sample from central Tunisia. The genetic distance between this lineage and its sister group (M. abubakeri) is comparable to or higher than that found among many reptile species. Hence, they refrain from assigning a name to the population. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013, Geniez 2018: 148, and Bar et al. 2021. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin cucullus = cap or hood, referring to the head flaps in this species. 
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