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Trimetopon simile DUNN, 1930

IUCN Red List - Trimetopon simile - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Dunn's Tropical Ground Snake 
SynonymTrimetopon simile DUNN 1930: 331
Trimetopon simile — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 309
Trimetopon simile — VILLA et al. 1988
Trimetopon simile — SAVAGE 2002savage 2020
Trimetopon simile — WALLACH et al. 2014: 743 
DistributionCosta Rica

Type locality: Reventazon [probably = Siquirres], Costa Rica  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 15263 
DiagnosisDescription. Scales 15; ventrals 122; anal divided; caudals 69; prefrontals
fused; oculars 1-2; temporal 1-1; supralabials 7, infralabials 7; third and fourth supralabials are below the eye; four infralabials are in contact with the anterior chin shields which are longer than those posteriorly; black, white below; head white as far forward as middle of frontal, and including third labial; a black spot on seventh labial; length 155 mm, tail 50 mm (from Dunn 1930: 331).

DIAGNOSIS: This relatively rare snake is one of a number of Costa Rican species with a uniform dark brown or black dorsum, an immaculate yellowish venter and a light nuchal collar involving the parietal shields. T. simile differs from other species having these features in the following combination of characteristics: 1 prefrontal, smooth dorsal scales in 15 rows and dark dorsal coloration extending onto tips of ventrals (Savage 2002: 638).

DESCRIPTION: A tiny snake (maximum total length 176 mm); tall long (30 to 33% of total length); 1 large pre-frontal; 1 loreal; 1 postocular; supralabials 7, with 2 bordering orbit; infralabials 7; temporals 1 + 1; dorsal scales :n 15 rows; ventrals 118 to 119; subcaudals 72 to 68; maxIllary teeth 10, slightly increasing in size posteriorly. Dorsum umform blackish brown; broad light nuchal collar involving most of the parietal shields and several scale rows on neck, complete or barely interrupted by dark pigment on midline; venter yellowish white. The retracted hemipenitis bilobed, semicapitate, and apparently without calyces (Myers 2002, Savage 2002: 638).

Comparisons: (1) Enulius sclateri has two prefrontals, no preocular, and 2 postoculars. (2) Trimetopon pliolepis has the light nuchal collar not or barely involving the parietaIs. (3) Trimetopon gracile has light nuchal spots or a narrow light nuchal bar that barely involves the parietaIs. (4) Enulius flavitorques has the ventral tips and first one to three scale rows on the body light in color. (5) Juvenile Geophis ruthveni have keeled dorsal scales. (6) Ninia celata has keeled dorsal scales in 19 rows (Savage 2002: 639). 
CommentSIMILAR SPECIES: Enulius sclateri, Trimetopon pliolepis,Trimetopon gracile, Enulius flavitorques, juvenile Geophis ruthveni, Ninia celata (see comparisons for differences). 
  • Dunn, E. R. 1930. New snakes from Costa Rica and Panamá. Occ. Pap. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 5: 329-332.
  • Dunn, Emmett Reid 1937. New or Unnamed Snakes from Costa RicaNew or Unnamed Snakes from Costa Rica. Copeia 1937 (4): 213- 215 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
  • Savage, J. M., & VILLA, J. 1986. An Introduction to the Herpetofauna of Costa Rica. Soc. Stud. Amphib. Rept. Contrib. Herpetol. No. 3, viii + 207 pp.
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • Taylor,E.H. 1951. A brief review ot the snakes of Costa Rica. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 34 (1): 3-188 - get paper here
  • Villa, J., Wilson, L.D., Johnson, J.D. 1988. Middle American Herpetology - A Bibliographic Checklist. University of Missouri Press, 132 pp [review in Copeia 1989 (3): 802]
  • 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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