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Dipsadoboa brevirostris (STERNFELD, 1908)

IUCN Red List - Dipsadoboa brevirostris - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymDipsadomorphus brevirostris STERNFELD 1908
Leptodira guineensis CHABANAUD 1920: 491
Dipsoglyphophis guineensis — BARBOUR & AMARAL 1927: 26
Crotaphopeltis duchesnii guineensis — LOVERIDGE 1941: 122
Dipsadoboa duchesnei guineensis — LAURENT 1956: 218
Dipsadoboa brevirostris — RASMUSSEN 1989
Dipsadoboa brevirostris — CHIRIO & LEBRETON 2007: 410
Dipsadoboa guineensis — TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014
Dipsadoboa brevirostris — WALLACH et al. 2014: 231 
DistributionGuinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, possibly Benin (Hughes 2013), Nigeria, Cameroon (RASMUSSEN 1989, BÖHME et al. 2011)

Type locality: Yabassi, Cameroon.

guineensis: Guinea  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 21710, lost fide J.B. Rasmussen (1989: 257). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: dorsals in 17-17-13 rows; ventrals 223 - 229 and 217 - 226, males and females, respectively; anal shield undivided; subcaudals in 91 -108 and 96-111 pairs, males and females, respectively; 19-21 + II-I (2) maxillary teeth; all specimens examined (including a pregnant female) pale brown to brown; anal glands extend to caudal scale no. 4-7 [from RASMUSSEN 1989].
CommentPart of the type series of Dipsadoboa brevirostris is actually D. duchesnei (namely ZMB 21709 + 21709A) as well as Dipsadomorpus viridis.

Synonymy: after RASMUSSEN 1989.

Distribution: see map in RASMUSSEN 1989. TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014 do not list D. brevirostris but they list guineensis for Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria.

“Both Loveridge (1941) and Laurent (1956) considered guineensis as a valid taxon, but this was not followed by Rasmussen (1989) who synonymized guineensis with brevirostris. In fact, the description of Dipsadomorphus brevirostris by Sternfeld (1908a) was based on three specimens, two of them from southern Cameroon clearly attributable to D. duchesnei (ventrals: 214, 215; subcaudals: 104, 114) and the third one from Yabassi (southwestern Cameroon) with scale counts (ventrals: 225; subcaudals: 91) close to those of Chabanaud’s specimens. Without examining Sternfeld’s (1908) lost syntypes, Rasmussen (1989) “tentatively” synonymyized guineensis with brevirostris. However this author also indicated that male specimens of D. duchesnei from Cameroon “tend to have higher ventral counts than the more eastern populations thereby indicating a cline toward Leptodira guineensis Chabanaud”. The 225 ventrals of the Yabassi specimen cannot be checked, but certainly include preventrals and thus approach or even enter the range of D. duchesnei males in this area. For this reason, we do not follow Rasmussen (1989) in attributing the three syntypes of Sternfeld to two different species. Furthermore, the occurence of “brevirostris” in Cameroon (and southeastern Nigeria), in addition to D. duchesnei, has never been supported by additional specimens despite the considerable quantity of material collected by Chirio & Lebreton (2007) in Cameroon and Akani et al. (1999) in southeastern Nigeria. For these reasons, we resurrect D. guineensis from the synonymy of D. brevirostris, a taxon that we consider a junior synonym of D. duchesnei.” (TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014)

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “brevis, -e” = short and “rostrum” = beak, proboscis, trunk. 
  • Barbour, T.; Amaral, A. D. 1927. Studies on African ophidia. Bull. Antivenin Inst. America 1 (1): 1-3
  • Barbour, T.; Amaral, A. D. 1927. Studies on African Ophidia. Bull. Antivenin Inst. America 1 (1): 25-27
  • Böhme, Wolfgang, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Christian Brede & Philipp Wagner 2011. The reptiles (Testudines, Squamata, Crocodylia) of the forested southeast of the Republic Guinea (Guinée forestière), with a country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 35-61 - get paper here
  • Chabanaud, P. 1920. Contribution a l’etude de la faune herpetologique de l’Afrique Occidentale. Bulletin of the Comite E’tudes Historiques Scientifques de L’afrique Occidentale Francais, 4, 489–497.
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • 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
  • Hughes, B. 2013. Snakes of Bénin, West Africa. Bull. Soc. Herp. France 144: 101-159
  • Laurent, R.F. 1956. Contribution à l'herpetologie de la région des Grandes Lacs de l'Afrique centrale. Ann. Mus. Roy. Congo Belge (Sci. Zool.), 48: 1-390
  • Loveridge, Arthur 1941. Report on the Smithsonian-Firestone Expedition's collection of reptiles and amphibians from Liberia. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 91 (3128): 113-140 - get paper here
  • Rasmussen, J.B. 1989. A taxonomic review of the Dipsadoboa duchesnei complex. Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 40 (3/4): 249-264 - get paper here
  • Segniagbeto GLazcano. H., Trape J. F., David P., Ohler A., Dubois A. & Glitho I. A. 2011. The snake fauna of Togo: systematics, distribution and biogeography, with remarks on selected taxonomic problems. Zoosystema 33 (3): 325-360. DOI: 10.5252/z2011n3a4 - get paper here
  • Sternfeld,R. 1908. Die Schlangenfauna von Kamerun. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin 3 (4): 397-432 - 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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