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Thelotornis usambaricus BROADLEY, 2001

IUCN Red List - Thelotornis usambaricus - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Usambara vine snake 
SynonymThelotornis usambaricus BROADLEY 2001
Thelotornis kirtlandii STEJNEGER 1893: 733 (not HALLOWELL)
Thelotornis capensis mossambicanus BROADLEY 1979: 126 (not BOCAGE 1895)
Thelotornis usambaricus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 729
Thelotornis usambaricus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 508 
DistributionTanzania (East Usambara Mts), Kenya (coast), Mozambique (Vamizi Island 11°00’S, 40°40’E, possible a relict population)

Type locality: Amani Nature Reserve, East Usambara Mts, Tanzania.  
TypesHolotype: NMZB 16181 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species inhabiting coastal forest and somewhat intermediate between T. kirtlandii and T. mossambicanus. It resembles the former in having both the crown of the head and the temporal region uniform bright green, in having some green pigment on the body and in having transverse black markings (chevrons) on the neck (more obvious in subadults), also in its high subcaudal counts. It agrees with T. mossambicanus in lacking the extension of rostral and nasals onto the dorsal surface of the head, in having some black spotting on labials, chin and throat, usually including a speckled black triangle on the sixth supralabial, and in having infralabial counts averaging more than 10. Ventral counts and hemipenal length are intermediate between those of the other two species (from BROADLEY 2001). 
CommentVenomous! Deadly snake, but totally unaggressive (fide S. Spawls on Facebook)

Synonymy after BROADLEY 2001.

Habitat. Coastal forest.

Distribution: see map in Broadley 2001: 59 (Fig. 2). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • ALLISON E. HEGAN 2014. Alien herpetofauna pathways, invasions, current management practices and control method ethics: A review of some significant problems in the USA. Herpetological Bulletin (129) - get paper here
  • 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
  • BROADLEY, D. G. & FAROOQ, H. O. M. 2013. Thelotornis usambaricus (Broadley, 2001) Usambara Vine snake. African Herp News (59): 48-50 - get paper here
  • BROADLEY, D. G. & V. WALLACH 2002. Review of the Dispholidini, with the description of a new genus and species from Tanzania (Serpentes, Colubridae). Bull. nat.Hist. Mus. Lond (Zool.), 68(2): 57-74. - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1979. Problems presented by geographical variation in the African vine snakes, genus Thelotornis. S.Afr.J.Zool. 14 (3): 125-131 - get paper here
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Holman, J. Alan; Fritz, Uwe 2005. The Box Turtle Genus Terrapene (testudines: Emydidae) in the Miocene of the USA. The Herpetological Journal 15: 81-90 - get paper here
  • Jennings, Randy D. 2016. Book Review: Amphibians and Reptiles of the US - Mexico Border States / Anfibios y Reptiles de los Estados de la Frontera México - Estados Unidos. Herpetological Review 47 (4): 692-694 - get paper here
  • Rovero, F., Menegon, M., Fjeldså, J., Collett, L., Doggart, N., Leonard, C., Norton, G., Owen, N., Perkin, A., Spitale, D., Ahrends, A., Burgess, N. D. 2014. Targeted vertebrate surveys enhance the faunal importance and improve explanatory models within the Eastern Arc Mountains of Kenya and Tanzania. Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12246 - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Stejneger, L. 1893. On some collections of reptiles and batrachians from East Africa and the adjacent islands, recently received from Dr. W. L. Abbott and Mr. William Astor Chanler, with descriptions of new species. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 16: 711-741 - 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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