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Boaedon lineatus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Striped House Snake
G: Gestreifte Hausschlange 
SynonymBoaedon lineatum DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 363
Boaedon quadrilineatum A DUMÉRIL in DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 363 (fide HALLERMANN, pers. comm.)
Alopecion variegatum BOCAGE 1867 (fide BOULENGER 1893: 332)
Boodon lineatus — BOULENGER 1893: 332
Boodon lineatus var. angolensis BOCAGE 1895: 80 (fide HALLERMANN, p.c.)
Boodon lineatus var. plutonis WERNER 1902 (fide TRAPE et al. 2022)
Boaedon lineatus — SCHMIDT 1923: 63
Boaedon lineatus — CALABRESI 1925: 106
Boodon lineatus — DOLLFUS & BEAURIEUX 1928
Boaedon lineatus — SCORTECCI 1931: 16
Boaedon lineatus lineatus — LOVERIDGE 1941: 120
Boaedon lineatus lineatus — BOGERT 1942
Boaedon lineatus — LOVERIDGE 1955
Boaedon lineatus — FITZSIMONS & BRAIN 1958
Boaedon lineatus lineatus — PERRET 1961
Lamprophis lineatus — BROADLEY 1983
Lamprophis lineatus — HUGHES 1997
Boaedon lineatus — LEBRETON 1999
Lamprophis lineatus — BROADLEY 1998
Boaedon lineatus — KELLY et al. 2011
Lamprophis lineatus — SEGNIAGBETO et al. 2012
Lamprophis lineatus — HUGHES 2013
Boaedon lineatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 94
Boaedon cf. angolensis — CONRADIE et al. 2016
Boaedon angolensis — MARQUES et al. 2018: 327
Boaedon variegatus — MARQUES et al. 2018: 328
Lamprophis lineatus — BÖHME & HEATH 2018
Boaedon angolensis — BRANCH et al. 2019
Boaedon angolensis — BUTLER et al. 2019
Boaedon angolensis — BAPTISTA et al. 2019
Boaedon lineatus — SENTER & CHIPPAUX 2022 
DistributionMali, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire, except in the south), Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea (Conakry), Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Sudan (Jumhūriyyat)

Type locality: Cote-D'or (Gold Coast).

angolensis: Angola  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 6537 and MNHN-RA 6562
Holotype: ZMB 6469, type loc.: Benguella [Angola] (juvenile specimen); syntype: BMNH 1867.7.23.23 [Alopecion variegatum BOCAGE 1867]
Syntypes: MB (Museu Bocage) specimen numbers unknown (collectors F.A.P. Bayão (Duque de Bragança), Padre A. Barroso (St. Salvador du Congo), J.A. d’Anchieta (Ambaca, Quissange, Cahata, Galanga, Caconda, Biballa, Huilla, Gambos, Humbe), destroyed by fire 18 March 1978 (some specimens may have been exchanged and survived in other collections) [angolensis]
Syntypes: MSNG 30987 [bedriagae] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): A widespread African genus extending extralimitally onto the Arabian Peninsula, diagnosed by the following combination of characters: body moderately elongated and tail moderate to short; head of moderate size, flattenedabove, elongated isosceles trapezoidal in shape, broader than neckand distinct from it; eye moderate to large with vertically ellipticalpupil; midbody scale rows 23–35, vertebral row not enlarged; dorsal scales smooth with one or two apical pits; ventrals 168–246,without lateral keel; subcaudals paired (usually) or single (olivaceus), 38–85; anal entire; maxilla with six enlarged anterior teeth,separated (usually) by a short diastema from 12 to 16 smaller, sub-equal, ungrooved teeth; hemipenis shallowly forked, shaft withapproximately 12 rows of basal spines; rows merge distally intochevrons and/or denticulate calyces which extend onto lobes; sulcus centrifugal, dividing approximately half way up shaft (Bogert,1940; Broadley, 1990; Branch, 1998; Chippaux, 2001). After KELLY et al. 2011 (See Table 4 in their paper for additional data).

Description: A slender snake, with a narrow head, rather small black eyes, and a cylindric body covered by glossy scales that show strong blue and violet iridescence in bright light. Hatchlings are entirely black (Nečas 1997), and sometimes the whole bodies and heads of adult animals remain black from above and below, but more usually there is a broad brown or dark yellow stripe along the back that continues from the neck to the tail tip. Sternfeld (1908: 92) describes this species as follows (translated from German): “Rostral broader than high, its upper part = 1/3 of distance from the frontal. Internasals shorter than prefrontals. Frontal 1 1/3 longer than broad, as long as the distance to the snout tip, a little shorter than the parietals. Loreal as long as broad. 1 preocular, not reaching the top of the head. 2 postoculars. 8 upper labials, the 4th and the 5th in contact with eye. T = 2+3 or 3+4. Four lower labials in contact with anterior chinshield, that is larger than the posterior. Nasal divided. Colour: Black-brown above and below. Length 32 cm. Tail 4 cm. 1 specimen. V = 205. Sq = 21. Sc = 46. Somaliland. Erlanger and Neumann.” (from Tiutenko et al. 2022) 
CommentSimilar species: 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.

Type species: Boaedon lineatum DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854 is the type species of the genus Boaedon DUMÉRIL et al. 1854 (LOVERIDGE 1957). Note that the characters formerly used to distinguish this genus from Lamprophis have proven invalid (Broadley, 1983), and no clear morphological synapomorphies have yet been discovered to diagnose Boaedon, hence Broadley (1983) synonymised Boaedon with Lamprophis until the former was revived by KELLY 2011.

Synonymy: Lamprophis capensis has been previously synononymized with L. lineatus but is now considered as a valid species by most authors. The populations from Southern Africa of Lamprophis formerly regarded as L. lineatus or L. fuliginosus are regarded by Broadley et al (2003) and Johan Marais (2004) as Lamprophis capensis. For more synonyms see BOULENGER 1893. Boaedon angolensis and B. variegatus are listed as valid by MARQUES et al. 2018 but they point out that more studies are needed to establish their validity. Boaedon bedriagae BOULENGER 1906: 211 has been revalidated from the synonymy of B. lineatus by Ceriaco et al. 2021. See that paper for a more detailed synonymy.

Illustrations: See Reptilia (Münster) 11 (1): 91 (2006) for pictures.

Distribution: not in East Africa (S. Spawls, pers. comm., 28 June 2018). Not in Gabon, where it is replaced by B. perisilvestris (O. Pauwels, pers. comm., 25 April 2019). For a map of the genus see Tiutenko et al. 2022: 258 (Fig. 12).

Key: Hallermann et al. 2020 provide a key to the Angolan species of Boaedon. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “linea”, meaning stripe or line. 
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