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Mehelya stenophthalmus (MOCQUARD, 1887)

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Small-eyed File Snake 
SynonymHeterolepis stenophthalmus MOCQUARD 1887: 16
Simocephalus stenophthalmus — BOULENGER 1893: 347
Simocephalus rostralis STERNFELD 1910 (fide HALLERMANN 2007)
Gonionotophis microps BOULENGER 1911: 370 (fide LOVERIDGE 1957: 255)
Simocephalus stenophthalmus — WERNER 1924
Gonionotophis microps — WERNER 1924: 31
Gonionotophis microps — WITTE 1933: 31
Mehelya stenophthalmus — LOVERIDGE 1939: 146
Mehelya stenophthalmus — PITMAN 1974
Mehelya stenophthalmus — BROADLEY 1998
Mehelya stenophthalmus — PAUWELS et al. 2004
Gonionotophis stenophthalmus — KELLY et al. 2011
Mehelya stenophthalmus — BÖHME et al. 2011
Mehelya stenophthalmus — SEGNIAGBETO et al. 2012: 344
Mehelya stenophthalmus — HUGHES 2013
Mehelya stenophthalmus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 425
Mehelya stenophthalmus — TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014
Gonionotophis stenophthalmus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 411
Mehelya stenophthalmus — BROADLEY et al. 2018
Gonionotophis stenophthalmus — CHIPPAUX & JACKSON 2019: 217
Mehelya stenopthalmus — SPAWLS et al. 2023 (in error) 
DistributionGuinea-Bissau, Guinea (Conakry), Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin ?, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Congo (Brazzaville), Uganda, Gabon, Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Equatorial Guinea

Type locality: "Assinie." [=Assini, Aboisso Department, extreme southeastern Ghana, 5˚07'N, 3˚17'W] and "cap Lopez" [=Cape Lopez, Congo].  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 1885.0615 and MNHN-RA 1885.0715, largest specimen 700 mm (Chaper and Boisguilleaume, respectively), location of a third specimen unknown
Holotype: ZMB 23318 , from Genero Gebirge, Kamerun [Simocephalus rostralis] 
CommentDiet: Eats also other snakes (Chippaux 1999).

Distribution: For a map with localities in Equatorial Guinea see SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS et al. 2022. Not reported from Benin according to ULLENBRUCH et al. 2010. 
EtymologyNamed after the Greek stenos (= narrow) and Greek ophthalmos = eye, face. 
  • Böhme, Wolfgang, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Christian Brede & Philipp Wagner 2011. The reptiles (Testudines, Squamata, Crocodylia) of the forested southeast of the Republic Guinea (Guinée forestière), with a country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 35-61 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1911. Descriptions of three new snakes discovered by Mr. G.L. Bates in South Cameroon. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (8) 8: 370-371 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. The reptilian fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In: Schmidt, K.P. and Noble, G.K., Contributions to the Herpetology of the Belgian Congo... [reprint of the 1919 and 1923 papers]. SSAR Facsimile reprints in Herpetology, 780 pp.
  • Carlino, P. & Pauwels, O.S.G. 2015. An Updated Reptile List of Ivindo National Park, the Herpetofaunal Hotspot of Gabon. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 50(3): 25-39 - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Chippaux,J.P. 1999. Les serpents d’Afrique occidentale et centrale. Paris (IRD editions), 278 pp. [critical book review in Herp. Bull. 73: 30] - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Hallermann, J. 2001. Bemerkenswerter Mageninhalt von Mehelya stenophthalmus (MOCQUARD, 1887) (Serpentes: Colubridae). Salamandra 37 (2): 105-106 - get paper here
  • Hallermann, J. 2007. The status of problematic snake types of the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Reptilia, Serpentes). Mitt. Mus. Nat.kd. Berl., Zool. Reihe 83 (2): 160–165 - get paper here
  • Hughes, B. 2013. Snakes of Bénin, West Africa. Bull. Soc. Herp. France 144: 101-159
  • Kelly, Christopher M.R.; William R. Branch, Donald G. Broadley, Nigel P. Barker, Martin H. Villet 2011. Molecular systematics of the African snake family Lamprophiidae Fitzinger, 1843 (Serpentes: Elapoidea), with particular focus on the genera Lamprophis Fitzinger 1843 and Mehelya Csiki 1903. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 58(3): 415-426 - get paper here
  • Lönnberg, E. 1910. Two new snakes from Lower Congo. Arkiv för Zoologi 7 (8): 1-8 - get paper here
  • Mocquard, F. 1887. Du genre Heterolepis et des espèces qui le composent, dont trois nouvelles. Bull. Soc. Philom. Paris (7) 11: 1-34 - get paper here
  • Necas, Petr; Modry, David 1997. A second record of the small-eyed file-snake, Mehelya stenophthalma (Mocquard, 1887) (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae) in Uganda. British Herpetological Society Bulletin (61): 21-23
  • Pauwels, O.S.G. & Vande Weghe, J.P. 2008. Les reptiles du Gabon. Smithsonian Institution, Washington: 272 pp. - get paper here
  • Pauwels, O.S.G.; Bhide, M.C.; Nkoghe, P.H. & Böhme, W. 2009. Aggressive Begegnung zwischen Mehelya stenophthalmus und Python sebae (Serpentes: Colubridae & Pythonidae) in Gabun. Elaphe 17 (3): 55-57 - get paper here
  • Pauwels, O.S.G.; William R. Branch and Marius Burger 2004. REPTILES OF LOANGO NATIONAL PARK, OGOOUÉ-MARITIME PROVINCE, SOUTH-WESTERN GABON. Hamadryad 29 (1): 115 – 127 - get paper here
  • Pitman,C.R.S. 1974. A guide to the snakes of Uganda. Codicote, Wheldon & Wesley, L., 290 pp.
  • SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS, A., CALVO-REVUELTA, M. & DE LA RIVA, I. 2022. Synopsis of the terrestrial Reptiles of Equatorial Guinea. Zootaxa 5202 (1): 1-197 - get paper here
  • Segniagbeto GLazcano. H., Trape J. F., David P., Ohler A., Dubois A. & Glitho I. A. 2011. The snake fauna of Togo: systematics, distribution and biogeography, with remarks on selected taxonomic problems. Zoosystema 33 (3): 325-360. DOI: 10.5252/z2011n3a4 - get paper here
  • Sinsin B, Bergmans W(eds) 1999. Rongeurs, ophidiens et relations avec l’environnement agricole du Bénin. Cotonou (Éd. Flamboyant), 199 pp.
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Stephen; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Sternfeld,R. 1910. Neue Beiträge zur Schlangenfauna Kameruns. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin 5: 61-65 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F. & R. ROUX-ESTÈVE 1995. Les serpents du Congo: liste commentée et clé de détermination. Journal of African Zoology 109 (1): 31-50
  • TRAPE, JEAN-FRANÇOIS & CELLOU BALDÉ 2014. A checklist of the snake fauna of Guinea, with taxonomic changes in the genera Philothamnus and Dipsadoboa (Colubridae) and a comparison with the snake fauna of some other West African countries. Zootaxa 3900 (3): 301–338 - 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. 1924. Neue oder wenig bekannte Schlangen aus dem Naturhistorischen Staatsmuseum in Wien. l. Teil. Sitzungsb. Ber. Akad. Wiss., Wien, Abt. l, 133: 29 - 56 - get paper here
  • Witte, G. F. de 1933. Reptiles récoltés au Conge Belge par le Dr. H. Schouteden et par M. G.-F. Witte. Ann. Mus. Conge belge Zool. Ser. 1 Tome III: 53-100.
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