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Platyceps rhodorachis (JAN, 1865)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
SubspeciesPlatyceps rhodorachis subniger (BOETTGER 1893)
Platyceps rhodorachis rhodorachis (JAN 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 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
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 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, Libya, 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 Kyrghyzstan, 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] Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
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] 
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.

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.

DIAGNOSIS (rhodorachis): Supralabials 9, usually two 5th+6th (rarely 4th+5th or 5th, or three 4th+5th+6th) in eye, infralabials 9- 10 rarely 11, midbody scale 19, reduced to 11-13 at vent;; ventrals 205-277, subcaudals 139-144. Total length 859- 1043, tail 244-354 mm. Distinct pre and post oculo-labial stripes present, indistinct oculo-temporal stripe. Colour:Head gray or brownish with pale yellowish preocular and postocular bar, shading to buff posteriorly; body pale to medium gray, some times brownish or greenish, anterir half of body with short cross bars or alternating spots of gray, chestnut or pale russet, posteriorly unicolour (Minton, 1966). Ventrum ivory, sides of ventrals smudged with black.

DIAGNOSIS (kashmirensis): supralabials 9, 5th 6th in eye, rarely 4th 5th ; infralabials 10; single preocular and presubocular, two postoculars, temporals 2,2,3; dorsals 19, always reduced to 13 at vent; posterior genials are separated by a patch of 5-8 granular intergenial scales, which sometime are arranged in a double row; ventrals 210-239, subcaudals 119-135; snout-vent length 385-660, tail length 190-228 mm.

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