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Tantilla psittaca MCCRANIE, 2011

IUCN Red List - Tantilla psittaca - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymTantilla psittaca MCCRANIE 2011
Tantilla psittaca — WALLACH et al. 2014: 704
Tantilla psittaca — ANTÚNEZ-FONSECA et al. 2020 
DistributionNE Honduras

Type locality: Rawa Kiamp (15°06’N, 84°26’W, 60 m elevation) along Río Siksatingni, department of Gracias a Dios, Honduras.  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: USNM 578389, an adult male; Paratypes (n=6): Honduras, department of Gracias a Dios: USNM 559707, 570459, 578390 from Rus Rus (14°43’N, 84°27’W, 60 m), LSUMZ 21770 from Tánsin (15°18’N, 83°53’W, 5 m), SMF 86170 from Río Cuyamel (15°34’N, 84°59’W, 200 m); department of Colón: SMF 86171 from El Ocotillal (15°22’N, 85°13’W, 420 m). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Tantilla psittaca can be distinguished from T. taeniata (herein restricted to the Guatemalan populations discussed by Campbell 1998; see Discussion below) by having 153–163 ventrals in males (143–152 ventrals in male T. taeniata; Campbell did not study any females). Six other named species of Tantilla assigned to the T. taeniata species group have been reported from Guatemala and southern Belize (T. cuniculator, T. hendersoni, T. impensa, T. jani, T. tecta, and T. vulcani). Tantilla psittaca differs from all of those species in having the middorsal pale stripe complete and involving all of the vertebral scale row and the adjacent one-third to one-half of the paravertebral scale rows (versus middorsal stripe absent or faintly indicated only on anterior body in T. cuniculator, middorsal stripe confined to vertebral scale row and narrowly interrupted in T. hendersoni, middorsal stripe confined to vertebral scale row in T. impensa, middorsal stripe absent or reduced to series of small spots on vertebral row in T. jani, middorsal stripe confined to median third of vertebral scale row in T. tecta, and middorsal stripe reduced to series of spots on vertebral row in T. vulcani). Two named species of the T. taeniata species group are known to occur in Honduras (T. impensa [discussed above] and T. tritaeniata). Tantilla psittaca can be distinguished from T. tritaeniata in having the pale middorsal stripe narrowing anteriorly and beginning on the fourth or fifth scale row posterior to the parietals (versus pale middorsal stripe not narrowing anteriorly and beginning on third scale row posterior to parietals in T. tritaeniata) and in having red ventral surfaces in life, at least on the posterior third of the body and all of subcaudal surface (versus yellow ventral surfaces in life in T. tritaeniata). Another named species of the T. taeniata species group, T. reticulata, has been reported from Nicaragua to Panama. Tantilla psittaca differs from T. reticulata in having red ventral surfaces in life and in lacking darker pigment on the anterior portion of many lateral dorsal scales (versus ventral surfaces yellow in life and darker pigment present anteriorly on many lateral dorsal scales in T. reticulata). In addition, five of the seven T. psittaca have a complete nuchal collar, whereas T. reticulata always has dark pigment broadly interrupted the nuchal collar medially [from MCCRANIE 2011]. 
CommentSpecimens belonging to T. psittaca have been previously assigned to T. lineata. T. psittaca differs from all populations previously assigned to T. taeniata by the combination of having a high number of ventral scales and a red venter in life. 
EtymologyThe name psittaca is from the Latin psittacus and means parrot. The name alludes to the type locality Rawa (also sometimes spelled Rauha) Kiamp, which translates from the native language Miskito to Parrot Camp in English. 
  • Antúnez-Fonseca CA, Castro JA, España FG, Townsend JH, Wilson LD. 2020. A new species of Tantilla of the taeniata group (Squamata: Colubridae) from Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barras de Cuero y Salado in Caribbean coastal Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 14(3) [Taxonomy Section]: 86–102 (e258) - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. A new species of Tantilla of the taeniata species group (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae, Colubrinae) from northeastern Honduras. Zootaxa 3037: 37–44 - 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
  • 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
  • Townsend, Josiah H.; Larry David Wilson, Melissa Medina-Flores, and Luis A. Herrera-B. 2013. A New Species of Centipede Snake in the Tantilla taeniata Group (Squamata: Colubridae) from Premontane Rainforest in Refugio De Vida Silvestre Texíguat, Honduras. Journal of Herpetology Mar 2013, Vol. 47, No. 1: 191-200. - 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.
  • Wilson, Larry David and Vicente Mata-Silva 2015. A checklist and key to the snakes of the Tantilla clade (Squamata: Colubridae), with comments on distribution and conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (4): 418 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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