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Dipsas andiana (BOULENGER, 1896)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymLeptognathus andiana BOULENGER 1896: 452
Leptognathus variegata — STEINDACHNER 1902: 108 (misidentification)
Leptognathus andianus — FOWLER 1913: 169 (misidentifications)
Sibynomorphus andiana — PARKER 1926: 206
Sibynomorphus andianus — AMARAL 1929: 195
Dipsas variegata nicholsi — OLIVER 1955 (part)
Dipsas oreas — PETERS 1960 (part)
Dipsas andiana — CADLE & MYERS 2003
Dipsas andiana — WALLACH et al. 2014: 230 
DistributionW Ecuador, elevation 5-1040 m (CADLE & MYERS 2003)

Type locality: Quito, Ecuador [probably not the collection locality but rather the shipping point where the collector resided; see CADLE & MYERS 2003].  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.20.12 (originally BMNH 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: Dipsas andiana is a pale brown or grayish snake with a distinctive contrasting pattern on the head and dorsum. The head is relatively unmarked except for a bold blackish brown n-shaped or inverted V-shaped marking extending from the anterior edge of the frontal to the neck (fig. 8). Dorsal markings consist of a series of large round, elliptical, or irregular dark blotches on each side, each with a narrow pale border. Corresponding blotches from each side occasionally meet middorsally, in which case there is a definite constriction at the vertebral scale row. Anteriorly, blotches tend to be opposite one another, whereas posteriorly they tend to alternate. Interspaces between the blotches are broader than the blotches (in some specimens 2–21/23) for the entire length of the body; anteriorly, the interspaces tend to be narrower than posteriorly. Dipsas andiana has a high number of ventrals (185–201) and subcaudals (5 males: 91–106; 4 females: 82–83).
Other species of Dipsas in western Ecuador include D. gracilis, D. oreas auctorum (including D. [oreas] ellipsifera and D. [oreas] elegans; see Orcés and Almendáriz, 1987), and D. temporalis. These species lack the distinctive head marking of D. andiana, although they usually have extensive dark markings on the head. Dipsas gracilis and D. temporalis are similar to D. andiana in having high numbers of ventrals and subcaudals; however, these are distinctly banded snakes in which the bands are much broader than the interspaces, are not round or elliptical, and lack distinct pale borders. The bands in D. gracilis extend across the venter, whereas the blotches in D. andiana end on the lateral edges of the ventrals. Dipsas ellipsifera and D. elegans have narrow rectangular blotches or bands with light centers and straight edges (Peters, 1960: pl. 4a; Kofron, 1982: fig. 1).
Most D. oreas can easily be described as banded snakes, at least anteriorly,
whereas D. andiana is laterally blotched. 
CommentDipsas andiana has been resurrected by CADLE & MYERS (2003). Peters (1960: 92), without examining the type specimen, placed L. andiana in the synonymy of Dipsas oreas. He explained away some color pattern differences between L. andiana and typical D. oreas because the type specimen of L. andiana is a juvenile (Peters, 1960: 93–94). Peters was also perhaps misled because Boulenger, either through a counting error or misprint, gave an erroneous count of 184 ventrals for the type, a count at the upper extreme for D. oreas. However, the corrected count of 191 ventrals far exceeds the range we have observed for D. oreas.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
  • Abuys, A. 1983. The snakes of Surinam, part VII: Subfamily Xenodontinae (genera Clelia and Dipsas). Litteratura Serpentium 3 (4): 111-120 - get paper here
  • Amaral,A. do 1930. Estudos sobre ophidios neotropicos XVIII. Lista remissiva dos ophidios da região neotropica. Mem. Inst. Butantan 4: 126-271 [1929] - get paper here
  • Arteaga AF, Bustamante-Enríquez LM and Guayasamin JM 2013. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Cadle, J.E. & Myers, C.W. 2003. Systematics of Snakes Referred to Dipsas variegata in Panama and Western South America, with Revalidation of Two Species and Notes on Defensive Behaviors in the Dipsadini (Colubridae). American Museum Novitates 3409: 1-47 - get paper here
  • Cisneros-Heredia, Diego F. 2007. Distribution and natural history of the Ecuadorian snake Dipsas andiana (Boulenger, 1896) (Colubridae: Dipsadinae) with considerations on its conservation status. Russ. J. Herpetol. 14 (3):199-202 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1868. An examination of the Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by the Orton Expedition to Equador and the Upper Amazon, with notes on other species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 20: 96-140 - get paper here
  • Fowler, H. W. 1913. Amphibians and reptiles from Ecuador, Venezuela, and Yucatan. Proceedings of the Academy Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 55: 153-176 - 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
  • Harvey, Michael B. 2008. New and Poorly Known Dipsas (Serpentes: Colubridae) from Northern South America. Herpetologica 64 (4): 422-451 - get paper here
  • Kofron, C.P. 1982. The identities of some dipsadine snakes: Dipsas elegans, D. ellipsifera and Leptognathus andrei. Copeia 1982 (1): 46-51 - get paper here
  • Oliver, James A. 1955. Banana bonanza. Animal Kingdom 58 (3): 66–71.
  • Orcés,V. & Almendáriz,A. 1987. Sistematica y distribución de las serpientes dipsadinae del grupo oreas. Politécnica, 12 (4):135-44
  • Parker, H. W. 1926. A new snake from Trinidad. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (9) 18: 205-207
  • Parker, H.W. 1934. Reptiles and amphibians from southern Ecuador. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (10) 14: 264-273 - get paper here
  • Peters , J. A. 1960. The snakes of the subfamily Dipsadinae. Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan (114): 224 pp. - get paper here
  • Peters, J.A. 1955. Herpetological type localities in Ecuador. Rev. Ecuat. Entom. Parasit. 2: 335-352
  • Steindachner, Franz 1902. Herpetologische und ichthyologische Ergebnisse einer Reise nach Südamerika mit einer Einleitung von Therese Prinzessin von Bayern. Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien (Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse) 72: 89–148 - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - 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.
  • Werner, F. 1910. Neue oder seltenere Reptilien des Musée Royal d'Histoire Naturelle de Belgique in Brüssel. [Mabuia dolloi, Mabuia polylepis]. Zool. Jb. Abt. Syst. Okol. Geogr. 28 [1909]: 263-288. - get paper here
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