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Sibon anthracops (COPE, 1868)

IUCN Red List - Sibon anthracops - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Cope's Snail Sucker
G: Südamerikanische Schneckennatter 
SynonymLeptognathus anthracops COPE 1868: 136
Sibynomorphus ruthveni BARBOUR & DUNN 1921 (fide KOFRON 1987)
Sibynomorphus anthracops — AMARAL 1929
Dipsas anthracops — TAYLOR 1954
Sibon anthracops — VILLA et al. 1988
Sibon anthracops — MCCRANIE 2006
Sibon anthracops — WALLACH et al. 2014: 667 
DistributionGuatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica

Type locality: “Central America”  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 10134
Holotype: MCZ 15549 [ruthveni] 
DiagnosisDescription. “The following is based on two males (LSUMZ 23829; UF 142714) and two females (USNM 565822; UTA R-53277). Sibon anthracops is a moderately small, ringed snake (maximum recorded TOL 664 mm [LSUMZ 23829]) with a long tail; head very distinct from neck; snout short, blunt in dorsal outline; rostral not extending posteriorly between intemasals, its length from above about one-quarter that of median (but slightly sinistral relative to median prefrontal suture) intemasal suture; intemasals short, about two-thirds length of prefrontal suture; prefrontals long, their median suture about three-quarters length of frontal; prefrontals border­ ing eye above loreal; frontal longer than wide, widest anteriorly, length about three-quarters that of parietals, in contact with prefrontals, supraoculars, and parietals; supraoculars longer than wide, as long as frontal; parietals long, wide, widest anteriorly, their median suture longer than frontal; parietals in contact with frontal, supraoculars, upper postocular, anterior and upper secondary temporals, and about 7 nuchal scales; nasal single or semidivided, in contact with first and second supralabials, loreal, prefrontal, internasal, and rostral; loreal single, longer than high, length nearly half that of snout, about three-quarters length of eye; loreal bordering eye; preocu­ lars and subpreoculars absent; postoculars usually 2 (rarely 3), upper (when 2 present) smaller than lower; temporals 1+2, anterior one usually above seventh supralabial, lower secondary one usually above eighth supralabial; no temporals bordering eye; supralabials 7-8, with third, fourth, and fifth, fourth, fifth, and sixth, or fourth and fifth bordering eye (enlarged penultimate supralabial separated from eye by lower postocular); pupil vertically elliptical; infralabials 7-9, first pair in contact posterior to mental (postmental absent), first 6 or first 5 infralabials in contact with anterior chinshields; anterior edge of first sublabial contacting ultimate gular scale; anterior chinshields paired, longer than wide, longer than posterior chinshields; posterior chinshields paired, in broad contact medially; mental groove weak, but present; ventrals 166-168 (167.0) in males, 162-169 (165.5) in females [162-188 both sexes combined range-wide]; cloacal scute entire; subcaudals 82-85 (83.5) in males, 69-80 (74.5) in females [69-91 both sexes combined range-wide], divided; ventrals plus subcaudals 248-253 (250.5) in males, 231-249 (240.0) in females; dorsal scales smooth, in 13 rows throughout body, without apical pits or supracloacal ridges; vertebral row not enlarged; TOL 594-664 (629.0) mm in males, 468-475 (471.5) mm in females; SVL420-511 (465.5) mm in males, 335-348 (341.5) mm in females; TAL/ TOL 0.230-0.293 in males, 0.267-0.284 in females.” (McCranie 2011)

Color in life of an adult male (UF 142714): “dorsum with series of elongate Jet Black (89) rings, the right and left portions sometimes longitudinally offset from one another ventrally; interspaces Cream Color (54) laterally and ventrally. Chrome Orange (16) dorsally, Chrome Orange becomes more extensive about one-third of way onto body; head Jet Black (89) from snout posteriorly onto two-thirds of parietals; nuchal band Cream Color with slight Chrome Orange smudging middorsally, nuchal band extending from posterior edges of parietals onto first two nuchal scale rows; iris Jet Black.” (McCranie 2011)

Diagnosis/Similar Species. “Sibon anthracops can be distinguished from all other Honduran snakes, except Sibon carri, in having smooth dorsal scales in 13 rows throughout the body. Sibon carri lacks a primary temporal, has the fifth supralabial in contact with the parietal, and a rust red body with dark crossbands (versus primary temporal present, fifth supralabial separated from parietal, and ringed body in S. anthracops).” (McCranie 2011) 
CommentSynonymy partly after KOFRON 1985 and 1987.

Harvey et al. 2008 reported a specimen from Colombia that may be in error.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
  • Acosta-Chaves, Víctor, Carlos Garita, Karla Conejo-Barboza, Jose D. Ramírez-Fernández, Beatriz Naranjo and Andrés Jiménez. 2014. Geographic Distribution: Sibon anthracops (Cope's snail sucker). Herpetological Review 45 (3): 467 - get paper here
  • Amaral,A. do 1930. Estudos sobre ophidios neotropicos XVIII. Lista remissiva dos ophidios da região neotropica. Mem. Inst. Butantan 4: 126-271 [1929] - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas & Dunn,E.R. 1921. Herpetological novelties. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 34: 157-162 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1868. An examination of the Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by the Orton Expedition to Equador and the Upper Amazon, with notes on other species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 20: 96-140 - get paper here
  • Dwyer, Quetzal. 2015. Geographic Distribution: Sibon anthracops (ringed snaileater). Herpetological Review 46 (1): 63 - get paper here
  • Guerra Centeno, Dennis; Héctor Fuentes Rousselin & David Morán Villatoro 2012. Serpientes de Guatemala: Guía para didentificación de especies. Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, 186 pp.
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Harvey, Michael B.; Gilson Rivas Fuenmayor, José Rances Caicedo-Portilla, and José Vicente Rueda-Almonacid 2009. Systematics of the Enigmatic Dipsadine Snake Tropidodipsas perijanensis Alemán (Serpentes: Colubridae) and Review of Morphological Characters of Dipsadini. Herpetological Monographs 22 (1): 106-132 - get paper here
  • Hidalgo, H. N. 1979. Range extension of the snake Sibon anthracops (Cope) in El Salvador. Herpetological Review 10 (3): 103 - get paper here
  • Juárez-Peña, Carlos, Ángel Sosa Bartuano and Silvia Sigüenza-Mejia. 2016. New herpetofaunal records for Parque Nacional Montecristo, El Salvador. El Salvador, Santa Ana. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3(4): 1107–1113 - get paper here
  • Kofron, C. P. 1987. Systematics of Neotropical gastropod-eating snakes: the fasciata group of the genus Sibon. Journal of Herpetology 21 (3): 210-225. - get paper here
  • Kofron, C.P. 1985. Systematics of the neotropical gastropod-eating snake genera Tropidodipsas and Sibon. Journal of Herpetology 19 (1): 84-92. - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Köhler, Gunther, Sebastian Lotzkat and Andreas Hertz. 2010. A new species of Sibon (Squamata: Colubridae) from western Panama. Herpetologica 66 (1): 80-85 - get paper here
  • Lotzkat, S.; A. Hertz; G. Köhler. 2012. A new species of Sibon (Squamata: Colubroidea: Dipsadidae) from the Cordillera Central of western Panama, with comments on other species of the genus in the area. Zootaxa 3485: 26–40 - get paper here
  • Martínez-Fonseca, José Gabriel, Luis Gutiérrez-López, and Javier Sunyer 2015. Sibon anthracops (Cope, 1868). Reproduction. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (4): 528 - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, J.R. 2007. A second new species of Sibon (Squamata: Colubridae) from La Mosquitia, Northeastern Honduras. Herpetologica 63 (2): 213-218 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2006. New species of Sibon (Squamata: Colubridae) from Northeastern Honduras. Journal of Herpetology 40 (1): 16-21 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • Meyer, J. R., & WILSON, L. D. 1971. Taxonomic studies and notes on some Honduran amphibians and reptiles. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci., 70: 106-114. - get paper here
  • Porras, L.W. 2006. Die Schlangen des costa-ricanischen Trockenwaldes. Reptilia (Münster) 11 (61): 32-37 - get paper here
  • Porras, L.W. & Solórzano, A. 2006. Costa Rica’s venomous snakes. Reptilia (GB) (48): 11-17 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Solís, Mario Espinal and José Mario 2015. New locality and elevational record for the snake Sibon anthracops (Cope, 1868) in Honduras. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (2): 218-219 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • Stark, Tariq; Carlijn Laurijssens, and Martijn Weterings 2014. Distributional and natural history notes on five species of amphibians and reptiles from Isla Ometepe, Nicaragua. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 308 - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier 2014. An updated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 186–202. - get paper here
  • Taylor,E.H. 1954. Further studies on the serpents of Costa Rica. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 36: 673-800. - 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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