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Psammophis trigrammus GÜNTHER, 1865

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Western Sand Snake 
SynonymPsammophis trigrammus GÜNTHER 1865: 95
Psammophis trigrammus — FITZSIMONS 1946
Psammophis trigrammus — BAUER & BRANCH 2003
Psammophis trigrammus — MATTISON 2007: 43
Psammophis trigrammus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 581
Psammophis trigrammus — SCHLEICHER 2020 
DistributionNamibia, S Angola, Republic of South Africa (Namaqualand)

Type locality: “river S. Nicolao (Little Fish Bay, West Africa)”  
TypesType: BMNH 1946.1.8.12 (and possibly additional specimens). 
DiagnosisDescription.—(46 specimens examined). Nos- tril pierced between 3 nasals, the upper posterior with a posterior prolongation; preoculars 2 (rarely 1; 3 on one side of TM 33060), the upper usually in point contact with frontal, sometimes well separated; postoculars 2; tem- porals basically 2+2+3, but with frequent fusions; supralabials 9, fifth & sixth entering orbit, rarely 8 (4 & 5), 10 (6 & 7) on one side of SMF 45662 and TM 2765; infralabials 10- 11, the first 5 (rarely 4) in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 17-17-13 or 17-17- 11 rows; ventrals 182-201; cloacal shield divid- ed; subcaudals 132-156. Brandstätter (1995, Fig. 78, 79) has published SEM micrographs of a dorsal scale from NMZB 6017 from Khan River, Namibia.
Dorsum pale grey to grey-brown (sometimes reddish posteriorly), uniform, or with a dark vertebral line posteriorly , or with a pair of pale dorsolateral stripes on scale rows 4 & 5. Ventrum yellow, uniform or with a dark grey median band (Broadley 2002). 
CommentDistribution: see map in BROADLEY 2002: 87 (Fig. 1). 
  • 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., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • 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.
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Brandstätter,F. 1996. Die Sandrennnattern. Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei 636, Magdeburg (Germany), 142 pp.
  • Broadley, D.G. 1977. A review of the genus Psammophis in southern Africa (Serpentes: Colubridae). Arnoldia 8 (12): 1-29
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Fitzsimons, V. 1946. Notes on some African Snakes, including a discription of a new subspecies of Xenocalamus. Annals Transvaal Mus. 20 (4): 379-394 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F.M. 1974. A field guide to the snakes of Southern Africa. 2nd edition. COLLINS, 221 pp. [first ed. 1970]
  • Günther, A. 1865. Fourth account of new Species of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 89-98. - 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
  • Lobón-Rovira J, Vaz Pinto P, S. Becker F, Tolley KA, Measey J, Bennet B, Boon B, de Sá S, Conradie W 2022. An updated herpetofaunal species inventory of Iona National Park in southwestern Angola. Check List 18(2): 289-321 - get paper here
  • 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 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2015. Reptilien Namibias. Namibia Scientific  Society, 276 pp.
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2020. Reptiles of Namibia. Kuiseb Publishers, Windhoek, Namibia, 271 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
  • Sternfeld, R. 1910. Zur Schlangenfauna Deutsch-Südwestafrikas. Mehrere Fälle von Mimikry bei afrikanischen Schlangen. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin, 5: 51-60 - 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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