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Compsophis fatsibe (MERCURIO & ANDREONE, 2005)

IUCN Red List - Compsophis fatsibe - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaPseudoxyrhophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymGeodipsas fatsibe MERCURIO & ANDREONE 2005
Compsophis (Geodipsas) fatsibe — GLAW et al. 2007
Compsophis fatsibe — WALLACH et al. 2014: 175 
DistributionN Madagascar (rainforests of the Anjanaharibe-Sud and Tsaratanana massifs)

Type locality: western slope of Anjanaharibe-Sud Massif, Valley of Analabe River, 14°46.62’S, 49°26.60’E, 1050 m elevation, Befandriana Fivondronana, Mahajanga Faritany
(Majunga Province), Madagascar.  
TypesHolotype: MRSN R1922, an adult male in good state of preservation, collected on 28 January 1996 by F. Andreone, H. Randriamahazo, and J. E. Randrianirina. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: In terms of pattern of dorsolateral colouration and overall aspect G. fatsibe could be confused with G. laphystia and with G. infralineata. However, G. fatsibe differs from G. infralineata, by having more ventrals (195–198 vs 172–193 in males) and subcaudals (78–82 vs 53–77 in males), smaller body size (620 vs 783 mm maximum known length in males). Geodipsas fatsibe is also distinguished from G. infralineata by having a body laterally more compressed, head more distinct from the neck (1.8 vs 1.3 ratio head width / neck width in specimens of equivalent dimensions), a darker network on the upper side of the head (vs presence only along the interparietal suture), and a comparatively shorter snout (4.7 vs 7.0 mm in specimens of similar size). Remarkable differences lie in the hemipenial ornamentation with the presence on the sulcal side in G. fatsibe of elongate and hooked spines (vs. smaller hooked spines). Geodipsas fatsibe is distinguished from G. laphystia by general lepidosis characters, by having dorsum with a irregular network of dark diagonal stripes (vs. longitudinal fine dark lines), and by characters of hemipenial morphology. 
CommentGeodipsas fatsibe n. sp. differs from the other described species of the genus in the following characteristics: 21 rows of dorsal scales at midbody, high number of ventral (198) scales and by the presence of very large hooked spines on the hemipenis. Geodipsas fatsibe is most similar to Geodipsas infralineata. Most likely they are sister species, with a vicariant northern vs. central southern distribution.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after the Malagasy name “fatsibe”, which is composed by two words: “fatsy”, meaning spine, and the suffix “be”, meaning “big” or “large sized”. The specific epithet (pronounced fow-tsee-bay) makes reference to the large hooked spines at the base of the hemipenis. It is used as a noun in apposition. 
  • Glaw, F.; Nagy, Z.T. & Vences, M. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships and classification of the Malagasy pseudoxyrhophiine snake genera Geodipsas and Compsophis based on morphological and molecular data. Zootaxa 1517: 53-62 - get paper here
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Mercurio, V. & Andreone, F. 2005. Description of a new Geodipsas snake from northern Madagascar (Squamata: Colubridae). Zootaxa 1093: 61-68 - 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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