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Psammophis leopardinus BOCAGE, 1887

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Psammophiinae, Colubroidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesLeopard Grass Snake, Leopard Sand Snake 
SynonymPsammophis sibilans var. leopardinus BOCAGE 1887: 206
Psammophis breviceps leopardinus
Psammophis sibilans leopardinus — BROADLEY 1977: 18
Psammophis sibilans leopardinus — BAUER et al. 1993
Psammophis sibilans leopardinus — MATTISON 1995: 225
Psammophis brevirostris leopardinus — HAAGNER et al. 2000
Psammophis leopardinus — BROADLEY 2002
Psammophis leopardinus — HUGHES 2002
Psammophis leopardinus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 577 
DistributionSW Angola, NW Namibia, Zambia

Type locality: restricted to Catumbela, Angola by BROADLEY 1977: 18 [= 12°26'S, 13°33'E]  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesLectotype: MBL 1798, designated by Broadley (1977: 18), destroyed by fire 18 March 1978. 
DiagnosisDescription (140 specimens examined): Nostril pierced between 2 (rarely 3) nasals; preocular 1 usually separated from frontal; postoculars 2; temporals basically 2+2+3, but with frequent fusions; supralabials 8, fourth & fifth entering orbit; infralabials usually 10 (rarely 8, 9 or 11), the first 4 (rarely 3 or 5) in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 17- 17-13 rows; ventrals 149-174; cloacal shield divided; subcaudals 79-108. Dorsum light red-brown, grey-brown or olive, a pale black-edged median stripe extends from rostral to frontal, where it forks and passes down each side, another pale black-edged stripe extends from the rostral along the canthus rostralis to the upper postocular, where it meets a pale band which crosses the posterior end of the frontal and passes through the postoculars to the lip, two more pale bars cross the back of the head and there may be faint crossbands on the neck. The well developed head pattern of ZFMK 29476 from Omandumba West, Erongo, has been illustrated by Van den Elzen (1980, Fig. 4). The vertebral scale row usually has a pale median stripe, the scales being margined with black, a pair of pale dorsolateral stripes on scale rows 4 and 5, edged with black above; anteriorly the pale stripes are linked by crossbands to form a chain-like pattern (Broadley 1977, Pl. ii; Buys & Buys 1983, Pl. 89), or the pale vertebral line may be suppressed to give a ladder-like dorsal pattern (Mertens 1955, Pl. 15, Fig. 68). Many specimens, particularly from Etosha National Park and environs, lack the typical leopardinus dorsal pattern and are uniform grey above, sometimes retaining head markings. The chin and throat may have grey blotches on each scale, forming a symmetrical pattern, there may be one or two pairs of lateral broken lines on the ventrals, sometimes with grey spots or streaks between them (patterns similar to those found in P. schokari) [from BROADLEY 2002]. 
CommentPopulations from Zambia have been redescribed as P. zambiensis.

Distribution: see map in BROADLEY 2002: 91 (Fig. 5). 
Etymology 
References
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Branch, William R. & Haacke, Wulf D. 1993. The herpetofauna of the Kamanjab area and adjacent Damaraland, Namibia. Madoqua (Windhoek) 18 (2): 117-145.
  • Bocage, J.V.B. du 1887. Melanges erpetologiques. I. Reptiles et Batraciens du Congo. II. Reptiles de Dahomey. III. Reptiles de l’Ile du Prince. IV. Reptiles et Batraciens de Quissange (Benguella) envoyés par M. J. d’Anchieta. Jorn. Sci. math. phys. nat., Lisboa, 11: 177-211
  • Broadley, D.G. 1977. A review of the genus Psammophis in southern Africa (Serpentes: Colubridae). Arnoldia 8 (12): 1-29
  • 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
  • Haagner,G.V.; Branch,W.R. & Haagner,A.J.F. 2000. Notes on a collection of reptiles from Zambia and adjacent areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Annals of the Eastern Cape Museum 1: 1 – 25
  • 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
  • Hughes, B. 2002. On the African leopard whip snake, Psammophis leopardinus Bocage, 1887 (Serpentes, Colubridae), with the description of a new species from Zambia. Bull. nat. Hist. Mus. Lond (Zool.), 68(2): 75-81
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Mattison, Chris 1995. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. New York: Facts on File, 256 pp.
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2015. Reptilien Namibias. Namibia Scientific  Society, 276 pp.
  • Shine, Richard; William R. Branch, Jonathan K. Webb, Peter S. Harlow, and Terri Shine 2006. Sexual Dimorphism, Reproductive Biology, and Dietary Habits of Psammophiine Snakes (Colubridae) from Southern Africa. Copeia 2006 (4): 650-664 - 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.
 
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