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Thelotornis mossambicanus (BOCAGE, 1895)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesEastern Twig Or Vine Snake 
SynonymDryiophis Kirtlandii var. mossambicana BOCAGE 1895: 119
Thelotornis capensis mossambicanus — RASMUSSEN 1981: 178
Thelotornis capensis mossambicanus — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 32
Thelotornis mossambicanus — BROADLEY 2001
Thelotornis mossambicanus — RAZZETTI & MSUYA 2002
Thelotornis mossambicanus — BROADLEY et al. 2003
Thelotornis capensis mossambicanus — CIMATTI 2006
Thelotornis mossambicanus — JACOBSEN et al. 2010
Thelotornis mossambicanus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 729
Thelotornis mossambicanus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 507 
DistributionS Somalia, SE Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, E Zimbabwe

Type locality: "Manica, Mozambique" [= Mozambique],
= lectotype locality.  
Reproduction 
TypesLectotype: MBL 1843 (A. Ennes), designated by Broadley (1979: 129), destroyed by fire 18 March 1978. 
Diagnosismossambicanus: Description.—Rostral and nasals barely visible from above; loreals usually 2 (rarely 1, very rarely 0 or 3); preocular 1; postoculars 3 (rarely 2 or 4); temporals 1 + 2 (very rarely 1 + 1, 1 + 3 or 2 + 2); supralabials 8 (rarely 9, very rarely 6 or 7), the fourth and fifth (rarely fifth and sixth, very rarely third and fourth, or third, or fifth only) entering orbit; infralabials 9-13, mode 11, the first 4 or 5 in contact with the anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales usually in 19-19-11 or 19-19-13 rows, very rarely 17, 21 or 23 rows at midbody (23 recorded by Rasmussen, 1997); ventrals 144-169 in males, 145-172 in females; anal divided; subcaudals 131-168 in males, 123-153 in females. Crown of head uniform green or with a black speckled Y-shaped marking, or brownish, entirely speckled with black (the two extremes may occur within a population, as on Mafia Island); temporal region always brown, speckled with black; supralabials white spotted with black, including a triangle on sixth labial, chin and throat speckled with black; dorsum ash grey with diagonal rows of whitish blotches and flecks of brown and pink or orange, neck with one or two elongate black blotches; ventrum greyish, streaked with brown (from BROADLEY 2001).

 
CommentVenomous!

Hybridization: mossambicanus is intergrading wit oatesi and capensis in E Zimbabwe and S Mozambique (Broadley 1979; BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991).
Derleyn (1978) had described T. c. schilsi from the Ruzizi plain in Burundi, but this form is known from only a few specimens and differs from T. c. mossambicanus only in its shorter tail and consequently lower subcaudal counts. 
Etymology 
References
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Branch, William R. & Haacke, Wulf D. 1993. The herpetofauna of the Kamanjab area and adjacent Damaraland, Namibia. Madoqua (Windhoek) 18 (2): 117-145.
  • Bennefield, B. I. 1982. Combat and Mating in the Vine Snake, Thelotornis capensis mossambicana. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (28): 13-14 - get paper here
  • Bocage,J.V. du B. 1895. Herpétologie d'Angola et du Congo. Lisbon: Imprimerie Nationale, i-xx, 203 pp.
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  • BROADLEY, D. G. 2001. A review of the genus Thelotornis A. Smith in eastern Africa, with the description of a new species from the Usambara mountains (Serpentes: Colubridae: Dispholidini). African Journal of Herpetology 50 (2): 53-70 - get paper here
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