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Tretanorhinus nigroluteus COPE, 1861

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesTretanorhinus nigroluteus nigroluteus COPE 1861
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus lateralis BOCOURT 1891 
Common NamesE: Orange-bellied Swampsnake, Orangebelly Swamp Snake
S: Buceadora 
SynonymTretanorhinus nigroluteus COPE 1861: 298
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus — COPE 1885: 183
Tretanorhinus lateralis BOCOURT 1893 (fide VILLA et al. 1988)
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus — BOULENGER 1893: 282
Tetranorhinus nigroluteus — AMARAL 1925 (in error)
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus dichromaticus VILLA 1969
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus obscurus VILLA 1969
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 306
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus — LINER 1994
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus — LINER 2007
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 736

Tretanorhinus nigroluteus nigroluteus COPE 1861
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus COPE 1861: 298
Helicops Agassizi JAN 1865: 248
Helicops bifrenatus BOCOURT 1884: 134
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus —BOCOURT 1891: 122
Tretanorhinus intermedius ROSÉN 1905: 171
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus nigroluteus — DUNN 1939: 216
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus nigroluteus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970

Tretanorhinus nigroluteus lateralis BOCOURT 1891
Tretanorhinus lateralis BOCOURT 1891: 122
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus lateralis — DUNN 1939: 216
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus mertensi SMITH & GILLESPIE in SMITH 1965
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus lateralis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 306
Tretanorhinus nigroluteus lateralis — HENDERSON & HOEVERS 1979 
DistributionMexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Campeche), Guatemala, Honduras (Islas de la Bahia and Utila), Nicaragua, Belize, El Salvador ?, Costa Rica, Panama

Type locality: “Greytown, Nicaragua”

dichromaticus (invalid): Honduras (Roatan Island); Type locality: between 2 and 5 kms north of Coxen Hole, Roatan Island, Honduras.

lateralis: Belize; Type locality: Belize City

mertensi (invalid): Mexico (Veracruz) south to Guatemala; Type locality: north edge of Lake Catemaco, 5 km east of Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico.

obscurus (invalid): Nicaragua (Corn Island).  
TypesHolotype: USNM 5568; MCZ R-826 listed as syntype.
Holotype: LACM 44426 [dichromaticus]
Syntypes: MNHN-RA 1891.0280-0281 (2 syntypes) [lateralis]
Holotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 55937 (University of Illinois Museum of Natural History), young male [mertensi]
Holotype: UCR 1888 (orig. JV 66162), collected by Jaime D. Villa on 23 January 1966 [obscurus] 
DiagnosisDescription: “Very closely allied to the preceding, but differing in the following points : Usually two loreals, anterior smallest; two or three praeoculars; posterior chin-shields in contact with each other anteriorly; scales in 21 rows. Olive or blackish above, uniform or with small black spots; a dark streak on each side of the head, passing through the eye; a yellow lateral streak, edged with dark below, on the anterior portion of the body, posteriorly confluent with the yellow of the ventral region; yellow below, uniform or with dark brown spots or dots.” (Boulenger 1896: 282)

Original description: “Tretanorhinus nigroluteus Cope. Dorsal scales in twenty-one rows, all keeled. Head slightly distinct, narrow. Rostral plate broader than high, separated from the prefontals by the nasals: each of the latter is subtransverse, the nostril between. Postfrontals as long as vertical; anterior border of the latter equal to the lateral: occipitals elongate, each bounded by seven temporals. Two loreals, anterior smaller; two preoculars, the superior smaller, not in contact with the vertical; two postoculars, in contact with the temporal. Fight superior labials, eye resting on the fourth inferior labials ten, the sixth elongate, the tenth very small. Two pairs of postabdominal scutella. Gastrosteges 136 (tail mutilated); length of body 15 in. 6 lin.

Color above black, tinged with plumbeous as far as the superior half of the second row of scales; below yellow, punctuated anteriorly, especially upon the inferior labials. Upon the anterior third of the body, the punctnlations form a narrow band upon the extremities of the gastrosteges, separated from the dorsal black by a narrow yellow band. A few irregular spots on the urosteges.

One specimen (5568) presented to the Smithsonian Inst., by Dr. Caldwell, from Greytown, Nicaragua.

Comparisons: This species differs from the T. variabilis D. & B. in color, in the greater relative size of the postfrontals, and in the presence of carina upon all the more elongate scales. In both the Tretanorhini, the scale-pores are absent. Cuba is the native country of the T. variabilis, whence it does not seem to have been often sent. Dr. Lobi has presented it to the Academy, and Prof. Poey to the Smithsonian Inst. It is an interesting species, as exhibiting the full development of the structure towards which we see 8 successive approach in Tropidonotus rhombifer,* T. ustus, T. cyclopium and T. anoscopus [description provided by Cope on the same page]; i.e. the approximation of the external nares -- and consequent restriction of the prefrontal plates -- and the narrowing of the superciliary plates, to give that vertical position of nostrils and range of vision so characteristic of the most highly aquatic types of serpents. The union of the prefrontal plates as in Dimades plicatilis is but one step further. Between the latter species and Trop. rhombifer, the Tretanorhinus may be said to be exactly intermediate in respect to position of nares and eye, carination and number of scales, and coloration. Besides this passage from the Tropidonotinæ to the Homalopsinæ, there is some analogy or affinity between such species as Tropidonotus dimidiatus and grahamii and Hypsirhina enhydris of the Old World. A similar connection may be traced through Atretiam schistosum.” (Cope 1861: 298) 
CommentIllustration: Color plate 73 in Villa et al. 1988.

Subspecies: Wilson & Meyer 1985 reject the two subspecies Tretanorhinus nigroluteus dichromaticus VILLA 1969 and Tretanorhinus nigroluteus obscurus VILLA 1969, an opinion that was adopted by subsequent aurhors, e.g. Köhler 2008: 295.

Synonymy: mainly after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970. HENDERSON & HOEVERS 1979 suggested to synonymize mertensi with lateralis.

Distribution: not in Yucatan state (Mexico), fide Gonzalez-Sanchez et al. 2017. 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin niger (= black, dark, dusky) and luteus (yellow), in reference to the "black" dorsum and "yellow" venter of the species (or, at least, the holotype, Cope, 1862: 298). 
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