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Coniophanes piceivittis COPE, 1870

IUCN Red List - Coniophanes piceivittis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesConiophanes piceivittis frangivirgatus PETERS 1950
Coniophanes piceivittis piceivittis (COPE 1870) 
Common NamesE: Cope's Black-striped Snake
G: Schwarzstreifennatter
S: Culebra Rayada 
SynonymConiophanes piceivittis COPE 1870: 149
Conophis lineatus — DITMARS 1934 (fide VILLA et al. 1988)
Liophis decoratus — DITMARS 1934 (fide VILLA et al. 1988)
Coniophanes piceivitus [sic] — STUART 1935: 53
Coniophanes piceivittis — BAILEY 1939: 29
Coniophanes piceivittis piceivittis — MERTENS 1952: 61
Coniophanes piceivittis — LINER 1994
Coniophanes piceivittis piceivittis — LINER 2007
Coniophanes piceivittis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 178
Coniophanes piceivittis — PALCIOS-AGUILAR & FLORES-VILLELA 2020

Coniophanes piceivittis frangivirgatus PETERS 1950
Coniophanes frangivirgatus PETERS 1950
Coniophanes frangivirgatus — MARTIN 1958
Coniophanes frangivirgatus —WILLIAMS & WILSON 1965
Coniophanes piceivittis frangivirgatus — WILSON & MEYER 1982
Coniophanes piceivittis frangivirgatus — LINER 1994
Coniophanes piceivittis frangivirgatus — LINER 2007 
DistributionMexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Morelos, Querétaro), Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica

frangivirgatus: Mexico (Veracruz, Tamaulipas); Type locality: Veracruz, 0.8 km E Plan del Río, 32 km (by air) SE Jalapa, on Veracruz highway, which crosses branch of Río Actopan at this point, 305 m elevation.

piceivittis: Mexico (Oaxaca); Type locality: Chihuitan, Oaxaca, Mexico.  
TypesSyntypes: USNM 30265
Holotype: UMMZ 101160 [frangivirgatus] 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: The only species in Costa Rica with a pair of broad longitudinal dorsolateral light stripes on a black background and the white ventral color continuing onto the lowermost 2 1/2 scale rows (Savage 2002: 595).

DESCRIPTION: A small snake (maximum total length 571 mm); head distinct from neck; tail long (31 to 39% of total length); eye moderate; 1 or 2 preoculars, usually 2; 2 postoculars; supralabials 7 or 8, with 2 bordering orbit; infralabials 9 or 10; temporals 1 + 2; dorsal scales 23 to 25 anteriorly, usually in 25 (rarely 23) rows at midbody and reduced to 17 to 21 anterior to vent; adult males with supra-cloacal keels; ventraIs 153 to 174; subcaudals 78 to 115; maxillary teeth 8 to 11 + 2. Body with a bold pattern of dark and light areas forming three black stripes (broad mid-dorsal and paired lateral) and two dorsolateral light stripes; undersurfaces cream, essentially immaculate; tongue black (Savage 2002: 595).

SIMILAR SPECIES: (1) Crisantophis nevermanni has the supralabials marked by dark pigment. (2) Conophis lineatus has six to eleven narrow dark dorsal and lateral stripes. (3) Striped species of Urotheca have narrow light stripes and the ventral tips dark (Savage 2002: 595). 
CommentSubspecies: Coniophanes piceivittis taylori HALL 1951 has been elevated to full species status by FLORES-VILLELA & SMITH 2009.

Synonymy: Palacios-Aguilar & Flores-Villela 2020 revalidated C. taeniata (= Tachymenis taeniata Peters 1870) for the populations (of piceivittis) on the Atlantic versant, so this name is no longer a synonym of Coniophanes piceivittis.

Publication dates: Cope's paper was published on February 18th, 1870 according to Osborn 1930: 189.

Distribution: not in Yucatan state (Mexico), fide Gonzalez-Sanchez et al. 2017. Records from Guerrero are considered to be C. taylori fide Flores-Villela and Smith (2009). See map in Palacios-Aguilar & Flores-Villela 2020: 119 (Fig. 6). 
EtymologyThe specific name was derived from the Latin words picis, meaning "pitch-black" and vita meaning "stripe," in reference to the dorsal coloration. 
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  • Bailey, J. R. 1939. A systematic study of the snakes of the genus Coniophanes. Pap. Michigan Acad. Sci. Arts Lett. 24 [1938]: 1-48. - get paper here
  • Casas-Andreu, G., F.R. Méndez-De la Cruz and X. Aguilar-Miguel. 2004. Anfibios y Reptiles; pp. 375–390, in A.J.M. García-Mendoza, J. Ordoñez and M. Briones-Salas (ed.). Biodiversidad de Oaxaca. Instituto de Biología, UNAM-Fondo Oaxaqueño para la Conservación de la Naturaleza-World Wildlife Fund, México, D. F.
  • Cope, E.D. 1870. Seventh contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 11: 147-169 [1869] - get paper here
  • Cruz-Elizalde R, Ramírez-Bautista A, Pineda-López R, Mata-Silva V, DeSantis DL, García-Padilla E, Johnson JD, Rocha A, Fucsko LA, Wilson LD. 2022. The herpetofauna of Querétaro, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation status. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 16(1) [General Section]: 148–192 (e308) - get paper here
  • Dixon, James R. and Julio A. Lemos-Espinal 2010. Amphibians and reptiles of the state of Queretaro, Mexico. Tlalnepantla UNAM, 428 pp.
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  • Flores-Villela, Oscar and Eric N. Smith 2009. A NEW SPECIES OF CONIOPHANES (SQUAMATA: COLUBRIDAE), FROM THE COAST OF MICHOACÁN, MEXICO. Herpetologica 65 (4): 404-412 - get paper here
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