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Boaedon fuliginosus (BOIE, 1827)

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Brown House Snake, African House Snake
G: (Afrikanische) Hausschlange 
SynonymLycodon fuliginosus BOIE 1827: 551
Boaedon unicolor DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 359
Boaedon quadrilineatum — JAN in JAN & SORDELLI 1870: liv. 36 (Pl ii, 2&3)
Boaedon quadrilineatum — PETERS 1882: 133
Boodon bipraeocularis — GÜNTHER 1888
Boaedon quadrilineatum — PFEFFER 1893: 18
Boodon fuliginosus — BOULENGER 1893: 334
Boaedon fuliginosus — SCHMIDT 1923: 65
Boaedon fuliginosus — LOVERIDGE 1957: 251
Boaedon fuliginosum — HÅKANSSON 1981
Boaedon fuliginosus fuliginosus — RASMUSSEN 1981: 175
Lamprophis fuliginosus — AUERBACH 1987: 155
Lamprophis fuliginosus — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 492
Lamprophis arabicus — HUGHES 1997: 72
Lamprophis fuliginosus — BROADLEY 1998
Boaedon fuliginosus — LEBRETON 1999
Lamprophis fuliginosus — CHIRIO & INEICH 2006
Boaedon fuliginosus — KELLY et al. 2011
Lamprophis fuliginosus — SEGNIAGBETO et al. 2012
Lamprophis fuliginosus — HAWLITSCHEK et al. 2012
Lamprophis fuliginosus — HUGHES 2013
Lamprophis fuliginosus arabicus — SINDACO et al. 2014
Boaedon fuliginosus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 95
Boaedon cf. fuliginosus — POLLO 2017
Boaedon fuliginosus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 391
Lamprophis fuliginosus — BÖHME & HEATH 2018
Boaedon fuliginosus — SENTER & CHIPPAUX 2022
Lamprophis fuliginiosus — ICLEI 2023 (in error)
Lamprophis fulginosus — BEHANGANA et al. 2023 (in error)

Boaedon arabicus PARKER 1930
Boaedon arabicus PARKER 1930
Boaedon arabicus — SCORTECCI 1932
Boaedon arabicus — CORKILL & COCHRANE 1966
Lamprophis fuliginiosus arabicus — GASPERETTI 1988: 240
Lamprophis fuliginosus arabicus — SCHÄTTI & GASPERETTI 1994
Boaedon arabicus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 95 
DistributionMorocco, Western Sahara, Botswana, Republic of South Africa, Savanna regions of sub-Saharan Africa from Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic and Mali, Gambia (HÅKANSSON 1981), Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, São Tomé und Principé (Gulf of Guinea), Guinea, Republic of South Sudan (RSS) ?, Sudan (Jumhūriyyat)

Type locality: see comment.

arabicus: Yemen; Type locality: EI Kubar, Amiri Country, SW. Arabia" [= EI Kubar, Ad Dali" Govern., SW Yemen, 13°48'N, 44°45'E, elevation 1350 m].  
TypesHolotype: lost, formerly RMNH, lost fide Brongersma in Roux-Estève & Guibé (1965b: 397).
Syntypes: BMNH 1946.1.23.17-19; BMNH 1946.1.23.18 [bipraeocularis]
Holotype: BMNH 1903.1.28.14, female [arabicus] 
CommentSynonymy: Thorpe & McCarthy (1978) showed that Lamprophis lineatus is a distinct species in West Africa rather than a color morph of L. fuliginosus, but in Southern Africa the latter species takes on the color pattern of the former. Note, however, that the two species have been confused in the literature and therefore references to either species may be erroneous. Boaedon (Lamprophis) arabicus is listed as “tentative” by Hughes 1997: 72, based on the number of ventrals being higher than in other species (240-242 in females [n=7] and 226 in males [n= 1]). However, the number in females overlaps with fuliginosus and the sample size for males is too small, given the significant variation in this species. Nevertheless, Wallach et al. 2014 cite Hughes 1997 as source for their decision.

Subspecies: L. f. bedriagae is in doubt fide SCHLEICH et al. (1996). Not sure if this is Boodon bedriagae BOULENGER 1906 which was described from S. Thomé. Boaedon fuliginosus mentalis GÜNTHER 1888 has been elevated to full species by Hallermann et al. 2020 and others.

Morphology: Knietsch (2006) showed that this species can change its color from black to olive green.

Distribution: Restricted to West Africa by Trape & Mediannikov 2016 who split off several new species from the previous B. fuliginosus s.l. Hence reports from Uganda, to Eritrea; Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire; except in the east), Congo (Brazzaville), Ethiopia and Somalia, Tanzania (incl. Pemba Island), Zambia, Yemen, Kenya (Håkansson 2009), South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi (Wallach 2014), Djibouti, and Angola correspond to other species now. In Angola it is replaced by B. angolensis fide Marques et al. 2018. In Gabon it is replaced by B. perisilvestris (O. Pauwels, pers. comm., 25 April 2019). However, the restricted range remains thus a bit unclear because not all populations of former B. fuliginosus have been investigated (F. Trape, pers. comm., 10 Jan 2017). Aloufi et al. 2022 report it from Saudi Arabia, but given the aforementioned restriction this record appears to represent another species.
Populations of Lamprophis fuliginosus from the Horn of Africa southwards to the Cape with lower number of ventral scales in both sexes are regarded by Hughes (1997) as a separate species: Lamprophis capensis (Dumeril, 1854). This opinion was followed by and Broadley et al (2003) and Marais (2004). The Namib subspecies mentalis is regarded by some authors as a separate species (Branch 1998). The type locality was given erroneously as “Java” by BOIE 1827. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013. 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin adjective “fuliginosus” meaning brown or dark brown colouration. 
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