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Elaphe quatuorlineata (LACEPEDE, 1789)

IUCN Red List - Elaphe quatuorlineata - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesElaphe quatuorlineata muenteri (BEDRIAGA 1882)
Elaphe quatuorlineata quatuorlineata (LACEPEDE 1789)
Elaphe quatuorlineata scyrensis CATTANEO 1999
Elaphe quatuorlineata parensis CATTANEO 1999 
Common NamesE: Four-lined snake (or ratsnake)
G: Vierstreifennatter
sauromates: E: Eastern Four-lined Ratsnake
sauromates: G: Östliche Vierstreifennatter
NL: vierstreepslang
Croatian: četveroprugi kravosas 
SynonymColuber quatuor-lineatus LACEPEDE 1789: 142
Coluber quatuor-lineatus — BONNATERRE 1790: 44
Coluber nauii DONNDORF 1798: 206 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Coluber quadristriatus DONNDORF 1798: 207 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Coluber quaterradiatus GMELIN 1799: 158 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Coluber quadrilineatus — DAUDIN 1803: 266
Coluber pictus PALLAS 1811: 45 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Coluber alpestris MÉNÉTRIES 1832: 68 (fide BOULENGER 1894)
Coluber poecilocephalus FISCH. De WALDH. 1832: 575 (fide BOULENGER)
Elaphis sauromates var. graeca BEDRIAGA
Elaphis quater-radiatus — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 254
Elaphis cervone SCHREIBER 1875: 254
Elaphis cervone — MOJSISOVICS 1889: 244
Coluber quaterradiatus — BOETTGER 1891: 418
Coluber quatuorlineatus — BOULENGER 1894: 45
Coluber quatuorlineatus — BOULENGER 1913
Elaphe quatuorlineata preamatura WERNER 1935
Elaphe quattuorlineata — BUSEKE 1982 (in error)
Elaphe quatuorlineata — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Elaphe quatuorlineata — SCHULZ 1996: 209
Elaphe quatuorlineata — HELFENBERGER 2001
Elaphe quatuorlineata — UTIGER et al. 2002
Elaphe quatuorlineata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 262
Elaphe quatuorlineata — KWET & TRAPP 2015

Elaphe quatuorlineata quatuorlineata (LACÉPÈDE 1789)
Coluber quatuorlineatus LACEPEDE 1789
Elaphe quatuorlineata quatuorlineata — CATTANEO 1999
Elaphe quatuorlineata quatuorlineata — THANOU et al. 2019

Elaphe quatuorlineata muenteri BEDRIAGA 1882
Elaphis sauromates var. muenteri BEDRIAGA 1882
Elaphe quatuorlineata rechingeri WERNER 1932
Elaphe rechingeri — CLARK 1994
Elaphe quatuorlineata muenteri — LENK et al. 2001
Elaphe rechingeri — WALLACH et al. 2014: 263
Elaphe quatuorlineata muenteri — THANOU et al. 2019

Elaphe quatuorlineata scyrensis CATTANEO 1999
Elaphe quatuorlineata scyrensis — THANOU et al. 2019

Elaphe quatuorlineata parensis CATTANEO 1999
Elaphe quatuorlineata parensis — THANOU et al. 2019 
Distributioncoastal Croatia (including some adriatic islands), Serbia, Slovenia, Hercegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Greece (Paros, Skyros, Skopelos e Alonissos, Lefkada and Zakynthos, Kerkyra= Corfu = Corfou, Samothraki, Andros, Tinos, Kea), W Bulgaria,
Italy: north to Tuscany and Umbria

Type locality: see comment (in error)

muenteri: Naxos, Amorgos, Ios, Folegandros, and a few other nearby islands, Greece (see Kornilios et al. 2014 for a map)

parensis: Paros Island, Greece

rechingeri: Greece (Amorgos Island); Type locality: Inseln Amorgos, (süd-östliche Cycladen), Cycladenarchipel” [= Amorgos Island, cenral Cyclades, SE Greece, bet. 36°46’–56’N & 25°44’–26°05’E].

scyrensis: Skyros Island, Greece, Type locality: Isola di Skyros (Sporadi settentrionali, Grecia)  
TypesHolotype: unlocated, was in Coll. Cattaneo (King of France’s cabinet, Paris)
Holotype: private collection, EQ/PR 9 (10) C C. (= Collezione Erpetologica Augusto Cattaneo, Roma); Paratypes: ZFMK and in Coll. Cattaneo [parensis]
Holotype: unknown fide Schulz 1996: 213 [muenteri]
Holotype: private collection, EQ/SK 6 (1) CC (= Collezione Erpetologica Augusto Cattaneo, Roma); s. ad. n. (= subadult ?), leg. Cristina Cattaneo, 12 maggio 1993 [scyrensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (parensis): “Un Elaphe quatuorlineata che si distingue dalla forma muenteri (probabile progenitrice) in base alle divergenze correlate alle diverse interazioni biotiche: a Paros manca infatti Podarcis erhardii, è presente invece Elaphe situla. Queste interazioni comportano tendenze alimentari diverse, in quanto rivolte agli uccelli (uova e nidiacei) e ai mammiferi di media mole (giovani ratti e conigli selvatici). Ne derivano maggiori dimensioni sia del neonato (P medio 17 g), sia del giovane adulto (maturità sessuale e abito a strisce a 90-100 cm), sia dell'adulto a pieno sviluppo (Lt 150-160 cm; P 700-900 g), con conseguente maggior numero di uova alla deposizione (9-18).
Si differenzia altresì non solo per la tendenza alla riduzione del numero di squame ventrali (x = 205 nei [male symbols], 212,7 nelle [female symbols] ), ma soprattutto per il più basso numero di squame dorsali a metà tronco (x = 23, moda 23 nei [male symbols]; x = 24, moda 23 nelle [female symbols]) (si consideri che questi valori della folidosi del tronco distaccano nettamente E. q. parensis non solo da muenteri, ma anche da quatuorlineata sensu stricto).”

Diagnosis (parensis), Google translation (slightly edited): An Elaphe quatuorlineata which differs from the muenteri form (probable progenitor) on the basis of divergences related to the various biotic interactions: in fact Paros lacks Podarcis erhardii, instead Elaphe situla is present. These interactions involve different food trends, as they are aimed at birds (eggs and nestlings) and medium-sized mammals (young rats and wild rabbits). This results in larger dimensions both for the newborn (average weight 17 g), and for the young adult (sexual maturity and striped dress at 90-100 cm), and for the full-grown adult (total length 150-160 cm; weight 700- 900 g), resulting in a greater number of eggs laid (9-18).
It also differs not only in the tendency to reduce the number of ventral scales (x = 205 in the males, 212.7 in the females), but above all in the lower number of dorsal scales in the middle of the trunk (x = 23, fashion 23 in the a males; x = 24, mode 23 in females) (consider that these values ​​of trunk pholidosis clearly detach E. q. parensis not only from muenteri, but also from quatuorlineata sensu stricto).

Diagnosis (scyrensis), Google translation (slightly edited): An Elaphe quatuorlineata which differs from the typical shape on the basis of the divergences induced by the peculiar synecological relationships (presence in Skyros of Podarcis gaigeae and Elaphe situla, but absence of Coluber caspius or Malpolon monspessulanus fuscus). They involve juvenile nutrition directed almost exclusively on lizards with early assumption of the striped dress in specimens with a slender and thin body line (eco-morphological dispersion). In the juvenile phases (up to the presumed length of about 140 cm) not only the habitus, but also the linear growth rhythms remind those of E. qu. muenteri. In the very young, the dorsal spots are less extensive, but more numerous (about 65 vertebral ones); the ventral design, compared to that of the back, evolves much more slowly and, always with respect to the typical shape, remains clearly visible much longer (a difference of at least 3 years is detected). On the other hand, there are no significant divergences of habitus concerning the adult. We also note the tendency to a certain reduction in the number of mid-trunk dorsal scales in males (x = 23.6) and ventral scales in both sexes (x = 206.3 in males, 219 in females).

Ontogenetic change: While adults have longitudinal stripes, juveniles have oblique blotches. 
CommentIllustration of Elaphe quatuorlineata muenteri in CIMATTI (2003).

Synonymy: The unstriped ssp. rechingeri, was synonymized with E. q. muenteri by Lenk et al. (2001) as they were found genetically almost identical.

Subspecies: Elaphe quatuorlineata sauromates is now treated as full species. Kornilios et al. 2014 support the recognition of three genetic lineages that roughly correspond to the morphological subspecies, although they recomment to re-evaluate the morphological characters used for their discrimination. However, the status of parensis remained unclear in this study due to the lack of samples. Similarly, Thanou et al. 2020 considered subspecies as premature.
Wallach et al. 2014 cite Clark 1994 as source for the validity of E. rechingeri.

Type locality: The type locality in Lacepède (1789) is given as "Provence, France" in error for that species.

It might be that the type specimen was in fact a Elaphe (now Rhinechis) scalaris (See Böhme & Scerbak 2003). Bonnaterre's description (1790) is based most probable on the same specimen. Lacepède's Work (1789) is rejected as invalid for Nomenclature (ICZN 1987). The next valid description is that of Bonnaterre (1790). Clarification of this complex nomenclatoric problem is needed.

Distribution: listed as questionable/possible for Jordan by DISI et al. 2001. Reports from Romania are E. sauromates (previously E. quatuorlineata suaromates). Not in Syria (as reported by BERGER -DELL’MOUR 1986); reports from Syria are E. sauromates. See map in Thanou et al. (2020) for subspecies. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Type locality: Provence, France (in error)

Type species: Coluber quatuorlineatus LACEPEDE 1789 is the type species of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger 1833.

Nomenclature: The name Coluber quatuorlineatus LACEPEDE 1789 was put on the Official list of specific names in Zoology by ICZN Opinion 490. However, Opinion 1463 largely suppressed Lacepede’s 1789 names of snakes.

Habitat: terrestrial (Harrington et al. 2018). 
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