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Psammophis brevirostris PETERS, 1881

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Short-snouted Grass Snake 
SynonymPsammophis brevirostris PETERS 1881: 89
Psammophis breviceps PETERS 1881: 87 (in error for brevirostris)
Psammophis brevirostris — WERNER 1899
Psammophis brevirostris — STERNFELD 1910: 56
Psammophis sibilans brevirostris — AUERBACH 1987: 169
Psammophis sibilans brevirostris — BOYCOTT 1992
Psammophis sibilans brevirostris — BAUER et al. 1995: 73
Psammophis brevirostris — BROADLEY 2002
Psammophis brevirostris — SHINE et al. 2006
Psammophis brevirostris — WALLACH et al. 2014: 576
Psammophis brevirostris — SCHLEICHER 2020 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Eastern Cape etc.), Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, relict populations in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and E Namibia

Type locality: “Xa Matlale” [Matlale Mission, N Transvaal, Republic of South Africa]  
TypesLectotype: ZMB 7256 (designated by BROADLEY 1977) 
DiagnosisDescription (brevirostris; 207 specimens examined): Nostril pierced between 2 nasals; preocular 1, usually widely separated from frontal; postoculars 2; temporals usually1/2+3; supralabials 8 (very rarely 7 or 9), the fourth & fifth (rarely third & fourth, fourth only or fifth & sixth) entering orbit; infralabials usually 10 (rarely 9 or 11), the first 4 (rarely 3 or 5) in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 17-17-13 rows; ventrals 146-167; cloacal shield divided; subcaudals 79-108. Dorsum olive brown, vertebral scale row usually with a pale median line, seven mid-dorsal scale rows often black-edged, forming narrow black lines; pale or with traces of pale transverse bars posteriorly and often faint crossbands on neck. Labials uniform yellow or white, sometimes with faint brown infuscation. Ventrum uniform white or with lateral series of black dots, a pair situated near the free edge of each ventral [BROADLEY 2002]. 
CommentTaxonomy: Werner 1902 described Psammophis brevirostris temporalis which may be a synonym of Psammophis sibilans brevirostris.

Distribution: see map in BROADLEY 2002: 91 (Fig. 5). Not in Angola (where it is replaced by other Psammophis) fide Marques et al. 2018. 
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • BOYCOTT, R. C. 2018. Psammophis brevirostris (Peters, 1881). DIET. African Herp News (68): 43-48 - get paper here
  • Boycott, R.C. 1992. An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • 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. 2002. A review of the species of Psammophis Boie found south of Latitude 12° S (Serpentes: Psammophiinae). African Journal of Herpetology 51 (2): 83-119 - get paper here
  • Conradie W and Branch WR. 2016. The herpetofauna of the Cubango, Cuito, and lower Cuando river catchments of south-eastern Angola. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 10 (2) [Special Section]: 6–36 - 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
  • Jordaan, P.R., Steyl, J.C.A., Hanekom, C.C., Xander Combrink 2020. Fire-associated reptile mortality in Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa. Fire Ecol (2020) 16: 3 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1881. Herpetologische Mittheilungen (Excrescenzen des Männchens von Rana gigas Blyth in der Paarungszeit, Psammophis biseriatus und breviceps, Dinodon cancellatum Dum. Bibr. = Lycodon rufozonatus Cantor, Lycodon napei Dum. Bibr. = Lycodon striatus Shaw, ba Sitzungsber. Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin 1881 (6): 87-91 - get paper here
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2020. Reptiles of Namibia. Kuiseb Publishers, Windhoek, Namibia, 271 pp.
  • Sternfeld, R. 1910. Zur Schlangenfauna Deutsch-Südwestafrikas. Mehrere Fälle von Mimikry bei afrikanischen Schlangen. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin, 5: 51-60 - get paper here
  • Venter, Jan A.; Werner Conradie 2015. A checklist of the reptiles and amphibians found in protected areas along the South African Wild Coast, with notes on conservation implications. Koedoe 57 (1): 1-25. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v57i1.1247 - 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. 1899. Ueber Reptilien und Batrachier aus Togoland, Kamerun und Deutsch-Neu-Guinea grösstentheils aus dem k. Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 49: 132-157 - 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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