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Apostolepis tenuis RUTHVEN, 1927

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Bolivian Blackhead, Ruthven's Burrowing Snake 
SynonymApostolepis tenuis RUTHVEN 1927: 1
Apostolepis ambiniger — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 22
Apostolepis tenuis — DE LEMA 2002
Apostolepis tenuis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 53 
DistributionBolivia, Brazil (França et al. 2020)

Type locality: Buena Vista, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  
TypesHolotype: UMMZ 64436, collected by: Jose Steinbach 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “Two upper labials, the 5th and 6th, in contact
with the parietals; symphysial scale not in contact with chinshields; 4 lower labials in contact with chin-shields, the 4th the largest.” (Ruthven 1927)

Description: “Head relatively broad and flat; snout feebly projecting; eye small. Frontal as long as broad, shorter than its distance from end of snout, half as long as parietals. Nasal separated from preocular by prefrontal. A single post-ocular. Six upper labials, 2d and 3d entering eye; 4th entirely under post-ocular; 5th and 6th in contact with parietals. The first lower labials in contact behind symphysial; 4 lower labials in contact with chin-shields. Dorsal scale rows 15 ; ventrals 260 ; sub-caudals 37 ; anal plate divided. Body above with longitudinal blackish and yellow stripes, as follows: 1st and part of 2d scale row yellow; a black stripe involving part of 2d row, all of 3d and 4th rows, and most of 5th row; a yellow stripe encroaching on 5th row and involving all of the 6th and most of the 7th rows; a median black stripe covering the 8th and the scale edges of adjacent rows. End of the tail black above. Belly yellow, with a median series of dusky markings on the tail. Muzzle yellow above; an irregular yellow spot below the eye; head, including 1st row of scales on the occiput, blackish; a yellow nuchal band one scale wide.
Measurements: Total length, 308 mm. ; tail length, 36 mm” (Ruthven 1927) 
  • França, D.P.F., E. C. Fermiano, P. R. Machado-Filho & H. Zaher. 2020. Taxonomic contributions and first record of the poorly known species Apostolepis tenuis Ruthven, 1927 in Brazil (Serpentes, Dipsadidae). Herpetologia Brasileira 8 (3): 44–49
  • FRANÇA, DANIELLA. P. F.; FAUSTO E. BARBO, NELSON J. SILVA-JÚNIOR, HELDER L. R. SILVA, HUSSAM ZAHER 2018. A new species of Apostolepis (Serpentes, Dipsadidae, Elapomorphini) from the Cerrado of Central Brazil. Zootaxa 4521 (4): 438-552 - get paper here
  • Hartweg, Norman 1932. The status of Apostolepis tenuis Ruthven. Copeia 1932 (2): 103 - get paper here
  • Lema, T. de & Renner, M.F. 2006. A new species of Apostolepis with striped pattern from Mato Grosso, Brasil (Serpentes, Elapomorphine). Ciência em movimento 8: 13-18
  • Lema, Thales de 2001. Fossorial snake genus Apostolepis from South America (Serpentes: Colubridae: Elapomorphinae). Cuadernos de herpetología 15 (1): 29-43.
  • Peters & Orejas-Miranda 1972. The taxonomic validity of Apostolepis tenuis Ruthven and Apostolepis vittata (Cope) (Serpentes: Colubridae). Copeia 1972 (3): 588-590 - get paper here
  • Ruthven, Alexander G. 1927. Description of an apparently new species of Apostolepis from Bolivia. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (188): 1-2 - 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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