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Platyceps rhodorachis (JAN, 1863)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
SubspeciesPlatyceps rhodorachis subniger (BOETTGER 1893)
Platyceps rhodorachis rhodorachis (JAN in FILIPPI 1865) 
Common NamesE: Common Cliff Racer, Wadi Racer, Desert racer, Braid Snake, Jan’s Cliff Racer
G: Jans Pfeilnatter 
SynonymEtairejus rhodorachis JAN 1857: 46 (nomen nudum)
Zamenis rhodorachis JAN 1863: 65
Zamenis rhodorachis — JAN in FILIPPI 1865: 356
Coluber florulentus — RÜPPELL 1845: 308 [part.]
Zamenis ventromaculatus GÜNTHER 1858 (nom. nud. ?)
Platyceps semifasciatus BLYTH 1860: 114 (fide BOULENGER 1890)
Compsosoma semifasciata — STOLICZKA 1870: 188
Zamenis ventrimaculatus [sic]— GÜNTHER in BURTON 1878: 398
? Zamenis ventrimaculatus — BOULENGER 1887: 408
Zamenis rhodorhachis [sic] — BOULENGER 1893: 381ff [part.]
Zamenis rhodorhachis — BOULENGER 1893: 398
Zamenis rhodorhachis var. ladacensis — BOETTGER 1898: 44
Zamenis rhodorhachis [sic] — STEINDACHNER 1900: 334
Zamenis rhodorhachis — WALL 1908
Zamenis rhodorhachis [sic] — BARBOUR 1914: 88
Zamenis ventrimaculatus — NIKOLSKY 1916
Zamenis rhodorhachis ladacensis — SCORTECCI 1929: 299
Coluber rhodorachis — PARKER 1931
Coluber rhodorachis — FLOWER 1933: 809
Coluber rhodorachis — SMITH 1943
Coluber rhodorhachis [sic] — SCHMIDT & MARX 1956: 29
Coluber r. rhodorachis — KRAMER & SCHNURRENBERGER 1963: 501
Coluber rhodorachis — MINTON 1966
Coluber r. rhodorhachis [sic] — MARX 1968: 31
Coluber r. ladacensis — MERTENS 1969: 60 [part.]
Coluber r. rhodorhachis [sic] — WERNER 1971: 244
Coluber rhodorhachus rhodorhachus [sic] — SOCHUREK 1979
Coluber rhodorhachis [sic] — BRANCH 1980: 343
Coluber r. rhodorhachis [sic] — GASPERETTI 1988: 219
Coluber rhodorachis — LEVITON et al. 1992: 92 [part.]
Coluber r. rhodorachis — EL-ORAN et al. 1994: 361
Coluber rhodorachis — FRYNTA et al. 1997
Haemorrhois rhodorhachis — WELCH
Eremiophis rhodorhachis (?)
Coluber rhodorachis — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 484
Coluber rhodorachis kashmirensis KHAN & KHAN 2000: 49
Platyceps rhodorachis — UTIGER et al. 2002
Coluber rhodorachis — SZCZERBAK 2003
Platyceps rhodorachis — NAGY et al. 2004
Platyceps cf. rhodorachis — SINDACO et al. 2014
Platyceps rhodorachis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 566
Platyceps rhodorachis rhodorachis —  SCHÄTTI et al. 2014: 311
Platyceps rhodorhachis — DAVLETBAKOV et al. 2016

Platyceps rhodorachis subniger (BOETTGER 1893)
Zamenis ladacensis var. subnigra BOETTGER 1893: 118
Coluber rhodorachis subniger — LANZA 1963
Coluber rhodorachis subniger — LANZA 1988
Platyceps subnigra — PERRY 2012
Platyceps rhodorachis subniger — SCHÄTTI et al. 2014 (status unclear) 
DistributionAlgeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Sudan ?, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad, Saudi Arabia (incl. Farasan Islands), United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iraq, Iran (Kavir desert), Afghanistan, W Pakistan, NW India to Yemen
S Turkmenistan, S Uzbekistan, NW Tajikistan, W Kyrgyzstan, S Kazakhstan

subniger: Eritrea and Djibouti to N/C Somalia, adjacent Ethiopia; Somalia (Ogaden) fide PERRY 2012. Type locality: Ogaden, Somalia.

kashmirensis: Pakistan (KHAN 2004); Type locality: from under pile of faggots near house of Master Muhammad Sadiq Goi Madan, Kotli, Azad Kashmir 33°30'N, 74°00'E. 1315 m

Type locality: Persia (fide ARNOLD 1980: 314); Arabian Peninsula; Shiraz (Iran) [fide SCHÄTTI & McCARTHY 2004]  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesLectotype: MSNG CE 30312 (formerly MSNG 3320), female, designated by Kramer & Schnurrenberger 1963: 501.
Holotype: Natural History Museum, Lahore, Pakistan (fide Perry 2012), MSK 188 (private collection) [kashmirensis]
Holotype: FMNH 72108 [tesselatus]
Holotype: ZSI 7240 [semifasciatus]
Holotype: SMF 62595, male [subniger] 
CommentSynonymy: partly after SCHÄTTI et al. 2014 (who provides an 8-page synonymy for this species). Boulenger (1889, 1892, 1893) considered Coluber ventromaculatus Gray, 1834 and Zamenis rhodorachis Jan, 1863 specifically distinct, and Z. ladacensis Anderson, 1871 a junior synonym of the latter. Wall (1914) revitalised the idea that rhodorachis and ventromacula­tus were conspecific.

Type species: Platyceps semifasciatus BLYTH 1860: 114 is the type species of the genus Platyceps BLYTH 1860.

The genus Platyceps Blyth, 1860 was resurrected and split from Coluber Linnaeus, 1758 by Inger & Clark (1943). Inger & Clark (1943) based this segregation on dorsal scale row reductions, but this was not accepted by most authors (Nagy et al., 2004). The use of the generic name Platyceps began in the early 21st century, following molecular works that had found it to be monophyletic (Schätti & Utiger, 2001, Nagy et al., 2004)

Distribution: Not in Libya fide Bauer et al. 2017.

Variation: Highly variable in external morphology, particularly ventral scales.

Subspecies: Platyceps rhodorachis ladacensis (ANDERSON 1871) has been elevated to full species status. The status of kashmirensis is unclear (G. Perry, pers. comm. 6 May 2013). The main diagnostic differences seem to the the posterior genial scales (small, granular in kashmirensis) and the number of subcaudals. Schätti 2014 listed kashmirensis as synonym of rhodorachis.

Hybridization: Schätti et al. 2012 describe Platyceps hybrids between P. karelini and P. rhodorachis. 
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