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Synophis calamitus HILLIS, 1990

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae),Diaphorolepidini,
Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Calamitous Shadow Snake
S: Culebra Andinas de la Sombra calamitosas 
SynonymSynophis calamitus HILLIS 1990
Synophis calamitus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 692 
DistributionEcuador (Pichincha, Tandayapa)

Type locality: "4 km SE Tandayapa, Pichincha Province, Ecuador, elevation 1890 m." [=4 km southeast of Tandayapa, 0˚01'S, 78˚46'W, northeastern Pichincha, northwestern Ecuador, 1890 m].  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: KU 197107, a 223 mm female (D.M. Hillis, 2 April 1984). 
CommentKnown from only about a dozen specimens.

“According to Hillis (1990), S. calamitus differed from other species of Synophis in having one postocular (two in other species) and internasals separated by rostral and prefrontal (internasals in contact medially in other species). Among 12 specimens of S. calamitus examined in this study (Appendix I), nine have two postoculars on each side, two have one postocular on one side and two on the opposite side, and only one specimen (QCAZ 11931) has one pos- tocular on each side. Moreover, we were able to examine the paratype of S. calamitus (KU 164208), a juvenile, badly-crushed roadkill, and found out that this specimen has one postocular on the left side and two on the right side, the ventral one difficult to observe because of the condition of the specimen. Thus, the number of postoculars is variable in S. calamitus and, therefore, it is not a useful taxonomic character. Regarding the contact between internasals, all specimens examined except for one (QCAZ 5847) had internasals in contact medially, as opposed to the condition described for both the holotype and paratype (internasals separated; Hillis 1990). Specimen QCAZ 5847 is a roadkill collected in the northern province of Carchi, and does not seem to have other differences with the remaining specimens of S. calamitus examined” (TORRES-CARVAJAL et al. 2015).

Description. A group of relatively small (~450mm SVL) dipsadine snakes of the cloud forests of the Pacific versant of the Andean highlands of Ecuador diagnosable by 9–11 infralabials, 7–9 supralabials, fused prefrontals, internasals separated, loreal present, 1 or 2 postoculars, 163–166 ventrals, 110–125 subcaudals, dorsal scales in (21–23)-19-17 weakly keeled rows, neural spine expanded and flattened, and later- ally expanded zygapophyses. Known from middle to high-elevation (~1900–2200m) cloud forests north of the Río Toachi. Nothing is known of diet [PYRON et al. 2015: 130]. 
EtymologyFrom the Latin for “calamity,” referring to accidents that befell the
original collectors (Hillis 1990). 
References
  • Hillis, D. M. 1990. A new species of xenodontine colubrid snake of the genus Synophis from Ecuador and the phylogeny of the genera Synophis and Emmochliophis. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History (University of Kansas), (135):1-9 - get paper here
  • PYRON, R. ALEXANDER; ALEJANDRO ARTEAGA, LOURDES Y. ECHEVARRÍA, OMAR TORRES-CARVAJAL 2016. A revision and key for the tribe Diaphorolepidini (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) and checklist for the genus Synophis. Zootaxa 4171 (2): 293–320 - get paper here
  • Sheil,C.A. & Grant,T. 2001. A new species of colubrid snake (Synophis) from Western Colombia. Journal of Herpetology 35 (2): 204-209 - 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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