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Buhoma depressiceps (WERNER, 1897)

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Higher TaxaElapoidea, incertae sedis, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesBuhoma depressiceps marlieri (LAURENT 1956)
Buhoma depressiceps depressiceps (WERNER 1897) 
Common NamesPale-headed forest snake
marlieri: Marlier's Forest Snake 
SynonymTropidonotus depressiceps WERNER 1897
Geodipsas mapanjensis ANDERSSON 1901
Geodipsas depressiceps — WERNER 1913: 27
Geodipsas depressiceps — SCHMIDT 1923: 101
Geodipsas depressiceps depressiceps — LAURENT 1958: 121
Geodipsas depressiceps depressiceps — TRAPE 1985
Geodipsas depressiceps — TRAPE & ROUX-ESTÈVE 1995: 41
Buhoma depressiceps — ZIEGLER et al. 1997
Buhoma depressiceps — PAUWELS et al. 2002
Buhoma depressiceps depressiceps — CHIRIO & LEBRETON 2007
Buhoma depressiceps — WALLACH et al. 2014: 126
Buhoma depressiceps — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 414

Buhoma depressiceps marlieri (LAURENT 1956)
Geodipsas depressiceps marlieri LAURENT 1956
Geodipsas depressiceps marlieri — PITMAN 1974
Buhoma depressiceps marlieri — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 415
Buhoma marlieri — CHIPPAUX & JACKSON 2019: 235 
DistributionCameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, N?, C/E/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Congo (Brazzaville), Central African Republic, Uganda

Type locality: Barombi, SE Cameroon

marlieri: Uganda; Type locality: Mwana, 1650 m [elevation], Terr. de Mwenga, Kivu  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesSyntypes: ZMB, 331 and 277 mm specimens (Preuss).
Holotype: RMCA (= MRAC = RGMC) 18091, female [marlieri] 
DiagnosisDescription: The largest male in the series measures 280 mm, the largest female 280 mm, the tail respectively 46 and 36 mm. The tail length varies from .16-.17 of the total in six males, from .13-.14 in three females. The ventral plates range from 140-143 in the males, 146-147 in the females; subcaudals 3 7 4 1 in males, 32-36 in females. The dorsal scales are 19-19-17. Two pre- and two postoculars. Temporals 1-2, exceptionally 1-3. Supralabials normally 7, 8 in one specimen; infralabials 8 or 9 (Schmidt 1923: 101).

Coloration: as well as scutellation is very constant in this species. A dark brown vertebral line, very distinct posteriorly, breaks up anteriorly into a more or less distinct double row of spots, which may be somewhat confluent, forming a zigzag line. The sides from the first to the middle of the sixth scale row are dark brown, usually bordered on the sixth scale row by black, and sometimes with a faint black line on the top of the first scale row. Between the sixth scale row and the dorsal line the color is much lighter grayish brown. Venter bright yellow, with a black lateral line, which is interrupted anteriorly, with a spot on each ventral. The tips of the ventrals brown like the sides, in one specimen without the black ventral lines, the lateral brown extending as far as the line normally does. Ventrals between the black lines uniform yellow in two specimens, more or less heavily shaded posteriorly in the others. Head very dark brown, the labials yellow, heavily edged with brown on the sutures. -4pair of very distinct adjacent light brown oval marks
on the neck, with a vertical yellow mark on the sides below them (Schmidt 1923: 101).

“A la description de Schmidt (1923), on peut ajouter d'après les spécimens cités ici, que les mâles sont moins sombres que les femelles; les taches antérieures et surtout les lignes longitudinales postérieures qui ont d'ailleurs plus d'importance chez eux, sont plus visibles. Le ventre est clair, avec une série de points noirs latéraux sur les ventrales moyennes; ces points sont remplacés pm' une légère pigmentation médiane irrégulière chez l'individu de Niapu. Chez les femelles, le ventre présente une pigmentation diffuse fort développée.
Invariablement 2 préoculaires, 2 postoculaires, 7 labiales supérieures, dont les 3e et 4e bordent l’oeil. Temporales: 1+2 (1+3 chez le spécimen de Niapu)” (Laurent 1956: 127).

Diagnosis (marlieri): “Race alticole de Geodipsas depressiceps, différant de la forme typique par ses écailles dorsales moins nombreuses (18-17-15 à 19-17-15 au lieu de 19-19-17 à 21-19- 17 ), ses ventrales plus nombreuses (150-163 au lieu de 133-149), ses labiales inférieures généralement moins nombreuses (7-8, rarement 9, au lieu de toujours 9), la troisième labiale inférieure plus longue, excluant le plus souvent la quatrième de tout contact avec la sublinguale antérieure, sa taille plus grande et sa livrée.” (Laurent 1956: 129). 
CommentSynonymy: Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic name Swileserpens Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected its use instead of Buhoma. 
References
  • Andersson, L.G. 1901. Some new species of snakes from Cameroon and South America, belonging to the collections of the Royal Museum in Stockholm. Bihang till Kongliga Svenska Vet. Akad. Handlingar 27 (4): 1-26 - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Derleyn, P. P. 1978. Notes sur les serpents du Burundi (2me partie). Les genres Geodipsas et Thelotornis. REVUE DE ZOOLOGIE AFRICAINE 92 (1): 208-218
  • Hoser, R.T. 2012. A new genus and subgenus of snakes from the South African region (Serpentes: Colubridae). Australasian J. Herpetol. 12:23–25. - get paper here
  • Hughes, B. 1983. African snake faunas. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 34: 311-356 - get paper here
  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
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  • Schmidt, K. P. 1923. Contributions to the herpetology of the Belgian Congo based on the collection of the American Museum Congo Expedition, 1909-1915. Part II. Snakes, with field notes by Herbert Lang and James P. Chapin. Bull. Amer. Mus. nat. Hist. 49 (1): 1-146
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
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  • Trape, J. F. 1985. Les serpents de la region de Dimonika (Mayombe, Republique Popilaire du Congo. Revue de zoologie africaine 99 (2): 135-140
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  • Werner, F. 1897. Über Reptilien und Batrachier aus Togoland, Kamerun und Tunis aus dem Kgl. Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ges., Wien 47: 395-407 - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1899. Ueber Reptilien und Batrachier aus Togoland, Kamerun und Deutsch-Neu-Guinea grösstentheils aus dem k. Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 49: 132-157 - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1913. Neue oder seltene Reptilien und Frösche des Naturhistorischen Museums in Hamburg. Reptilien der Ostafrika-Expedition der Hamburger Geographischen Gesellschaft 1911/12. Leiter: Dr. E. Obst. Reptilien und Amphibien von Formosa. Jb. Hamb. wiss. Anst., 30 [1912], 2. Beiheft: 1-39, 40-45, 45-51 - get paper here
  • Ziegler T.; Vences M.; Glaw F.; Böhme W. 1997. Genital morphology and systematics of Geodipsas Boulenger, 1896 (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae), with description of a new genus. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 104 (1): 95-114. - get paper here
 
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