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Mopanveldophis zebrinus (BROADLEY & SCHÄTTI, 2000)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common Names 
SynonymColuber zebrinus BROADLEY & SCHÄTTI 2000
Hemerophis zebrinus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 319
Mopanveldophis zebrinus — FIGUEROA et al. 2016 
DistributionN Namibia (near the Cunene River)

Type locality: near the Cunene River, at Ruacana, western Owamboland, Namibia (17° 25’ S, 14° 10’ E) Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
TypesHolotype: SMWN R. 8046 (= NMNW, National Museum of Namibia, Windhoek). 
CommentPublication date: The University of Washington libraries received this issue of Madoqua in August 2000. The year of description might therefore be 2000 (this was confirmed by BROADLEY, pers. comm.). However, Beat Schätti says that the paper was most likely published in 1999 as he received his reprints from D. Broadley in January 2000 (B. Schätti, pers. comm. 21 Sep 2016).

Description based on a single specimen.

Type species: Coluber zebrinus BROADLEY & SCHÄTTI 2000 is the type species of the genus Mopanveldophis FIGUEROA et al. 2016.

Diagnosis and definition (Mopanveldophis): As described in Broadley and Schätti [125] and Bauer et al [126], a snake with pale grey dorsal coloration and irregular broad, dark crossbands becoming faint in coloration posteriorly and on tail. Ventrals are uniform white with irregular lateral black spots, and subcaudals are also white with lateral grey stippling. Dorsal portion of head is uni- form grey-brown with yellowish orange snout and labials, and dark markings on supralabials 2–6. Dorsal scales with two apical pits, 23 scale rows near neck, 23 at midbody, and 17–19 ante- rior to the vent. Approximately 195 ventrals, 90 paired subcaudals, and divided anal scute. Nine supralabials with the fifth and sixth entering the orbit, one anterior subocular smaller than the loreal shield and situated above the fourth and anterior part of the fifth supralabials, and two preoculars and two postoculars. Also, diagnosed by a single large lower anterior tem- poral shield above the 7th and 8th supralabials, two upper anterior temporal, three posterior temporal, and maxillary with 17 + 2 teeth separated by a diastema. Its banded pattern was sug- gested as Batesian mimicry of the sympatric spitting cobra, Naja nigricollis. Bamanophis differs by having 25–27 scale rows near neck, 29–33 at midbody, and 17 near vent, 229–265 ventral scale and 75–95 paired subcaudals, lacking an anterior subocular, having one posterior subocu- lar, 10 supralabials, and 15–19 maxillary teeth with diastema [FIGUEROA et al. 2016, SCHÄTTI & TRAPE 2008]. 
EtymologyNamed for the zebra striping on the dorsum.

The generic nomen Mopanveldophis is derived from the word “mopanveld”,
the name of the type of habitat the specimens were found in, and the Greek adjective ophis, meaning “snake”. This name refers to veld habitat distributed in Southern Africa, from the Afrikaans word “field”, that is dominated by the mopane tree, Colophospermum mopane, from the Sechuana word “mopani”. 
  • Broadley,D.G. & Schätti,B. 2000. A new species of Coluber from northern Namibia (Reptilia: Serpentes). Madoqua 19 (2): 171-174 [1997]
  • Figueroa A, McKelvy AD, Grismer LL, Bell CD, Lailvaux SP 2016. A Species-Level Phylogeny of Extant Snakes with Description of a New Colubrid Subfamily and Genus. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0161070.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161070 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • SCHÄTTI, Beat & TRAPE, Jean-François. 2008. Bamanophis, a new genus for the West African colubrid Periops dorri Lataste, 1888 (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubrinae). Rev. Suisse Zool. 115 (4): 595-615 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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