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Synophis plectovertebralis SHEIL & GRANT, 2001

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae),Diaphorolepidini,
Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Braided Shadow Snake
S: Culebras Andinas de la Sombra trenzadas 
SynonymSynophis plectovertebralis SHEIL & GRANT 2001
Synophis plectovertebralis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 692 
DistributionColombia (Valle de Cauca)

Type locality: Hacienda San Pedro, about 6 km south El Queremal, Municipio Dagua, Departamento del Valle del Cauca, Colombia (03° 29’ N, 76° 42’ W) at 1800 m elevation on the Pacific versant of the Cordillera Occidental.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: UVC 11858 
Diagnosis 
CommentKnown from only 2 specimens.

Description. Relatively small (~200mm SVL) dipsadine snakes of the Pacific ver- sant of the Andean Highlands of W Colombia, diagnosable by 24 maxillary teeth, 7 or 8 infralabials, 7 or 8 supralabials, fused prefrontals, internasals in contact, loreal pre- sent, 1 postocular, nuchal collar present, 144–147 ventrals, 79–91 subcaudals, dorsal scales in 19-19-17 weakly keeled rows, neural spines expanded and flattened, and laterally expanded zygapophyses forming a partially interlocking complex [PYRON et al. 2015: 134].

Habitat: The type locality is a middle elevation (~1800m) cloud forest. Both known specimens were collected in moist leaf litter; one was active at night.

Diet: The stomach of the holotype contained a Ptychoglossus stenolepis (Sauria: Gymnophthalmidae). 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin adjectives plecto = braided or woven and vertebralis = in reference to the vertebrae. 
References
  • Castro-Herrera, F. & Vargas-Salinas, F. 2008. Anfibios y reptiles en el departamento del Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Biota Colombiana 9 (2): 251 - 277 - get paper here
  • Pyron RA, Guayasamin JM, Peñafiel N, Bustamante L, Arteaga A 2015. Systematics of Nothopsini (Serpentes, Dipsadidae), with a new species of Synophis from the Pacific Andean slopes of southwestern Ecuador. ZooKeys 541: 109-147, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.541.6058 - 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
  • Valencia-Zuleta A, Jaramillo-Martínez AF, Echeverry-Bocanegra A, Viáfara-Vega R, Hernández-Córdoba O, Cardona-Botero VE, Gutiérrez-Zúñiga J, Castro-Herrera F. 2014. Conservation status of the herpetofauna, protected areas, and current problems in Valle del Cauca, Colombia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 8 (2): 1–18 (e87) - 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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