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Naja subfulva LAURENT, 1955

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Brown forest cobra
G: Braune Waldkobra 
SynonymNaja melanoleuca subfulva LAURENT 1955: 132
Naja melanoleuca subfulva — BROADLEY 1962
Naja melanoleuca — BROADLEY 1990: 486
Naja subfulva — CHIRIO & INEICH 2006
Naja melanoleuca subfulva — CHIRIO & LEBRETON 2007
Naja (Boulengerina) melanoleuca subfulva — BROADLEY & BLAYLOCK 2013
Naja (Boulengerina) melanoleuca — CONRADIE et al. 2016
Naja (Boulengerina) subfulva — WÜSTER et al. 2018: 85 
DistributionCentral African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, SE Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, (South ?) Sudan, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi (all based on Wüster et al. 2018: 81)

Type locality: Lwiro, Kivu, Zaire  
TypesHolotype: RMCA (= MRAC = RGMC = Musée Royal du Congo Belge) 17514; Paratypes: ZFMK 50003 (ex-IRSNB 2.082), MRAC, IRSNB, FMNH. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Midbody scale rows 19, except along coastal regions of East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania), where most specimens have 17 rows. Pattern highly variable. Adults of most populations distinguishable in having a brown forebody, often with spots, generally becoming darker or blackish posteriorly. Labial pattern may be attenuated in many adults. Venter with several black, dark brown or greyish crossbands on the first 50 ventrals, gradually becoming uniform black caudad in some populations, but often remaining entirely light, often with extensive darker spotting or speckling. Where present, the light forebody and/or light posterior venter are diagnostic for this species. Generally fewer ventral bands and ventral scales than N. melanoleuca or N. savannula and fewer subcaudals than N. savannula (Table 8). Genetically diagnosable through possession of unique mitochondrial haplotypes (cyt b: GenBank MH337603–633; ND4: MH337409–439) and unique PRLR and UBN1 haplotypes (PRLR: MH337441–471; UBN1: MH337531, MH337536–562, MH337564–566) [Wüster et al. 2018: 85] 

Similar species: Naja melanoleuca has been split up into 4 species by Wüster et al. 2018, namely N. melanoleuca s. str., N. guineensis, N. savannula, and N. subfulva, all of which are variable and partly sympatric. See also N. melanoleuca.

Distribution: see map in Wüster et al. 2018: 81, Fig. 6 
  • Behangana, Mathias; Richard Magala, Raymond Katumba, David Ochanda, Stephen Kigoolo, Samuel Mutebi, Daniele Dendi,, Luca Luiselli, and Daniel F. Hughes 2020. Herpetofaunal diversity and community structure in the Murchison Falls-Albert Delta Ramsar site, Uganda: Herpetofaunal diversity. European Journal of Ecology, 6(2)
  • Bittencourt-Silva GB, Bayliss J, Conradie W. 2020. First herpetological surveys of Mount Lico and Mount Socone, Mozambique. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 14(2) [General Section]: 198–217 (e247) - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang 2014. Herpetology in Bonn. Mertensiella 21. vi + 256 pp. - get paper here
  • Broadley, D. & Blaylock 2013. The Snakes of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 387 pp. [book review in Sauria 35 (2): 59 and Copeia 2014: 388] - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1962. On some reptile collections from the North-Western and North-Eastern Districts of Southern Rhodesia 1958-1961, with descriptions of four new lizards. Occ. Pap. Nat. Mus. South. Rhodesia 26 (B): 787-843
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Chirio, Laurent and Ivan Ineich 2006. Biogeography of the reptiles of the Central African Republic. African Journal of Herpetology 55(1):23-59. - get paper here
  • Conradie, Werner; Gabriela B. Bittencourt-Silva, Hanlie M. Engelbrecht, Simon P. Loader, Michele Menegon, Cristóvão Nanvonamuquitxo, Michael Scott, Krystal A. Tolley 2016. Exploration into the hidden world of Mozambique’s sky island forests: new discoveries of reptiles and amphibians. Zoosyst. Evol. 92 (2): 163–180, DOI 10.3897/zse.92.9948 - get paper here
  • Harport, V. 2019. Familienurlaub mal anders – Südafrikas Norden. Reptilia (Münster) 24 (135): 70-79 - get paper here
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  • Hörold, Ralf 2019. Die echten Kobras und ihre Gifte Ophidia 13 (1): 18-26
  • Laurent, R.F. 1955. Diagnoses preliminaires des quelques Serpents venimeux. Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr., 51: 127-139
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  • Shine, R., Spawls, S. 2020. An ecological analysis of snakes captured by C.J.P. Ionides in eastern Africa in the mid-1900s. Sci Rep 10: 5096 - 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
  • TRAPE, Jean-François & Marcel COLLET 2021. Nouvelles données sur les serpents du sud-est du Katanga (République démocratique du Congo). Bull. Soc. Herp. Fr. (2021) 179 | 11-26 - get paper here
  • Trape, Jean-François; Israël Demba Kodindo, Ali Sougoudi Djiddi, Joseph Mad-Toïngué & Clément Hinzoumbé Kerah 2020. The snakes of Chad: results of a field survey and annotated country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 69 (2): 367–393 - get paper here
  • WÜSTER, WOLFGANG; LAURENT CHIRIO, JEAN-FRANÇOIS TRAPE, IVAN INEICH, KATE JACKSON, ELI GREENBAUM, CESAR BARRON, CHIFUNDERA KUSAMBA, ZOLTÁN T. NAGY, RICHARD STOREY, CARA HALL, CATHARINE E. WÜSTER, AXEL BARLOW, DONALD G. BROADLEY 2018. Integration of nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequences and morphology reveals unexpected diversity in the forest cobra (Naja melanoleuca) species complex in Central and West Africa (Serpentes: Elapidae). Zootaxa 4455 (1): 068–098 - get paper here
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