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Pseudalsophis elegans (TSCHUDI, 1845)

IUCN Red List - Pseudalsophis elegans - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Alsophiini, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesPseudalsophis elegans elegans (TSCHUDI 1845)
Pseudalsophis elegans rufodorsatus (GÜNTHER 1858) 
Common Names 
SynonymLygophis elegans TSCHUDI 1845: 164
Dryophylax freminvillei DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 1115
Coronella elegans — GÜNTHER 1858: 38
Philodryas freminvillei — JAN 1863
Dryophylax elegans — COPE 1878: 34
Philodryas elegans — BOULENGER 1896: 133
Tachymenis elongata DESPAX 1910: 373
Philodryas elegans elegans — SCHMIDT & WALKER 1943: 315
Tachymenis elongata — WALKER 1945
Philodryas elegans — PETERS et al. 1970: 242
Tachymenis elongata — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 290
Pseudalsophis elegans — ZAHER et al. 2009
Alsophis elegans — PYRON & BURBRINK 2013
Pseudalsophis elegans — WALLACH et al. 2014: 595
Tachymenis elongata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 695

Pseudalsophis elegans rufodorsatus (GÜNTHER 1858)
Dromicus rufodorsatus GÜNTHER 1858: 130
Tachymenis canilatus COPE 1868: 104
Lygophis poecilostomus COPE 1876: 180
Dryophylax vitellinus COPE 1877: 33
Tachymenis surinamensis DUNN 1922: 220 (fide MYERS & HOOGMOED 1974)
Philodryas elegans rufidorsatus [sic] — SCHMIDT & WALKER 1943: 315
Chlorosoma elegans — COCHRAN 1961: 216
Tachymenis surinamensis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 291
Tachymenis surinamensis — CLAESSEN 2005
Alsophis elegans rufodorsatus — VENEGAS 2005 
DistributionEcuador, Peru, Chile

Type locality: Peru (Montañas de Uruamba and vicinity of Lima); restricted to Lima, Peru by SCHMIDT & WALKER 1943.

Tachymenis elongata: Peru; Type locality: Tablazo de Payta, Peru, elevation 30 m.  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 7630 (designated by THOMAS & INEICH 1999)
Holotype: MCZ 5133, juvenile male (cited as no. "5123" in the original description); paratype: FMNH 65343, juvenile female [surinamensis]
Holotype: USNM 12351 [Tachymenis canilatus]
Syntypes: BMNH, Gardiner & Haslar collection (4 specimens) [rufodorsatus]
Holotype: MNHN-RA 1906.0254, a 450 mm specimen (Dr Rivet, 1902-1906) [Tachymenis elongata] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (Tachymenis elongata): “total length 450 mm, tail length 106 mm, smooth scales with apical pits in 19 series, ventrals 194, divided subcaudals 85, cloacal scale divided, temporals 1+2, preocular one, postoculars two and supralabials 8; light dorsal coloration, almost beige, with a few scales stained with black, forming two series of blotches on each side of the body; head gray with a dark line from the eye until the corner of the mandible, white superior labials below this line with one or two black dots” (Despax, 1910, cited in Trevine et al. 2022, Appendix 3).

There seems to be only one other specimen of Tachymenis elongata, namely FMNH 229362. “The specimen exhibits two rows of circular well defined dorsal blotches, on each side of the vertebral row, progressively darkening into a dark line on the final portion of body and tail; and a dark postocular stripe, which separates the dark dorsal portion of the head from light labials, these with a few spots (Fig. S10B); smooth dorsal scales in 19 rows, ventrals 194, subcaudals 109, supralabials 7 and infralabials 9. Aside the distinct coloration pattern, the difference in scales counts between the two Ta. elongata specimens and the genus Tachymenis are remarkable. No other Tachymenis, or other member of the Tachymenini, have more than 172 ventrals. Similarly, the maximum number of subcaudals registered for Tachymenis is 80, smaller than the counts registered for Ta. elongata (85 and 109).” (Trevine et al. 2022, Appendix 3) 
CommentSynonymy: partly after Schmidt & Walker 1943: 315, Cochran 1961: 216, Wallach et al. 2014: 595. Myers & Hoogmoeed 1974 suggested that Tachymenis elongata DESPAX 1910 is a synonym of Philodryas elegans (= Pseudalsophis elegans), which we follow here. However, there are only 3 specimens known, hence this remains somewhat uncertain.

Type species: Lygophis elegans TSCHUDI 1845 is the type species of the genus Pseudalsophis ZAHER et al. 2009.

Distribution: Tachymenis surinamensis was described from Surinam (Type locality: Surinam). It is unclear whether these specimens were from Surinam. Myers & hoogmoed consider the locality as erroneous. 
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  • Despax, R. 1910. Mission géodésique de l’Équateur. Collections recueillies par M. le Dr Rivet. Liste des ophidiens et descriptions des espèces nouvelles. (Note préliminaire.). Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat. Paris 16: 368-376 - get paper here
  • Dowling, Herndon Glenn 1969. The hemipenis of Philodryas Günther: a correction (Serpentes, Colubridae). American Museum Novitates (2375): 1-6 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
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  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
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  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • Tschudi,J. J. von 1845. Reptilium conspectum quae in republica Peruana reperiuntur er pleraque observata vel collecta sunt in itenere. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 11 (1): 150-170 [reprint 1968, SSAR; sometimes cited as being published in 1846]. - get paper here
  • Walker, W.F. 1945. A Study of the Snake, Tachymenis peruviana Wiegmann AND ITS Allies. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 96: 1-56 - get paper here
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  • Zaher, Hussam; Grazziotin, Felipe Gobbi; Cadle, John E.; Murphy, Robert W.; Moura-Leite, Julio Cesar de; Bonatto, Sandro L 2009. Molecular phylogeny of advanced snakes (Serpentes, Caenophidia) with an emphasis on South American Xenodontines: a revised classification and descriptions of new taxa. Pap. Avulsos Zool. (São Paulo) 49 (11): 115-153 - get paper here
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