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Elapsoidea guentherii BOCAGE, 1866

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Higher TaxaElapidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Günther’s Garter Snake 
SynonymElapsoidea guntherii BOCAGE 1866: 50
Elapsoidea hessei BOETTGER 1887: 651
Elapsoidea guentheri — GÜNTHER 1895: 525
Elapechis guentheri — BOULENGER 1896 (part.)
Elapechis hessii — BOULENGER 1896
Elapechis guentheri — BOULENGER 1897: 280
Elapechis guentheri — STERNFELD 1917
Elapsoidea güntherii — LOVERIDGE 1936: 41
Elapsoidea sundevallii güntherii — LOVERIDGE 1944: 222
Elapsoidea sundevallii decosteri BROADLEY 1959 (part.) (fide GOLAY et al.)
Elapsoidea decosteri scalaris LAURENT 1960
Elapsoidea loveridgei scalaris LAURENT 1960: 60 (fide JAKOBSEN 1997)
Elapsoidea güntheri — PERRET 1961
Elapsoidea loveridgei scalaris — BROADLEY 1971: 608
Elapechis guentherii — ELTER 1981
Elapsoidea guentheri — BRANCH 1981: 12
Elapsoidea guentheri — GOLAY et al. 1993
Elapsoidea loveridgei scalaris — GOLAY et al. 1993: 134
Elapsoidea guentherii — WELCH 1994: 59
Elapsoidea guentherii — DOBIEY & VOGEL 2007
Elapsoidea guentherii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 266
Elapsoidea guentherii — CONRADIE et al. 2021
Elapsoidea guentheri — PIETERSEN et al. 2021 
DistributionW/E/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Congo (Brazzaville), Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe

scalaris: Zaire (Kivu Province); Type locality: Luberizi, Kivu, Zaire.

Type locality: Cabinda, restricted by PARKER 1949.  
TypesHolotype: lost; destroyed fide BROADLEY in GOLAY et al. 1993 (formerly in Museu Bocage Lisboa 1935).
Holotype: RMCA (= MRAC) (Musée royal d l’Afrique centrale, Tervuren), R-20756 [scalaris] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Maxilla with twi karge tubular fangs anteriorly, separated by a diastema from three small solid teeth; midbody scale-rows 13, ventrals 131-181, tail short with 13-33 paired subcaudals; internasals not bordering nostril; colour pattern consisting of alternate pale and dark crossbands, well defined in juveniles (except in E. chelazziorum), but fading with age so that some species have uniformly coloured adults (Jakobsen 1997: 60).

Description (species): Branch 1981: 12. 
CommentVenomous! Members of the genus are venomous but they are inoffensive, rarely bite and their venom is not very toxic to humans; it can cause swelling, local pain and lymphangitis. No human fatalities are known.

Type species: Elapsoidea güntherii is the type species of the genus Elapsoidea. Synonymy partly after GOLAY et al. 1993.

Characters: see Table 1 in Jakobsen 1997 for all species except E. trapei.

Key: to species of Southern Africa in Branch 1981.

Distribution: see map in Broadley 1971: 602 (Fig. 6). Reports from Cameroon (Perret (1961) are probably in error as all other records are from far further south/east. Not listed for Cameroon by Chirio & LeBreton 2007. Lovereige 1944: 225 listed guentherii from a much larger area, ranging from Kenya to Congo to Senegambia, via Togo, Nigeria, Portuguese Guinea. See map in Chippaux & Jackson 2019: 113 for its range in the Congo basin and Angola. 
EtymologyNamed after Albert Günther (1830-1914), German-born zoologist at the British Museum. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bocage,J.V. du B. 1866. Lista dos reptis das possessões portuguezas d'Africa occidental que existem no Museu Lisboa. Jorn. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat. Lisboa 1: 37-56 - get paper here
  • Boettger, OSKAR 1887. Diagnoses reptilium novorum ad ilI. viro Paul Hesse in finnibus fluminis Congo repetorum. Zool. Anz. 10 (267): 649-651 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1897. A list of reptiles and batrachians from the Congo Free State, with the description of two new snakes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 19: 276-281 - 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
  • Branch, W. R. 1981. The venomous snakes of southern Africa 2. Elapidae and Hydrophidae. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 17 (1): 1-47 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, D. & Blaylock 2013. The Snakes of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 387 pp. [book review in Sauria 35 (2): 59 and Copeia 2014: 388] - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1971. A revision of the African snake genus Elapsoidea BOCAGE (Elapidae). Occ. Pap. Nat. Mus. Rhodesia B4 (32): 577-626
  • Broadley, D.G.; Doria, C.T. & Wigge, J. 2003. Snakes of Zambia. An Atlas and Field Guide. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 280 pp. [review in Sauria 26 (3): 21]
  • Broadley, Donald G. and F. P. D. Cotterill. 2004. The reptiles of southeast Katanga, an overlooked 'hot spot'. [Congo]. African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 35-61. - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • 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
  • Conradie W and Branch WR. 2016. The herpetofauna of the Cubango, Cuito, and lower Cuando river catchments of south-eastern Angola. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 10 (2) [Special Section]: 6–36 - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; NINDA L. BAPTISTA, LUKE VERBURGT, CHAD KEATES, JAMES HARVEY, TIMOTEO JULIO & GOTZ NEEF. 2021. Contributions to the herpetofauna of the Angolan Okavango-Cuando-Zambezi river drainages. Part 1: Serpentes (snakes). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 15(2): 244–278. - get paper here
  • Dobiey, M. & Vogel, G. 2007. Venomous Snakes of Africa - Giftschlangen Afrikas. Edition Chimaira, Terralog 15, 150 pp. - get paper here
  • Elter, O. 1981. Cataloghi. V - La collezione erpetologica del Museo di Zoologia dell’Università di Torino. Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali. Torino
  • Golay,P, H.M. SMITH, D.G. BROADLEY, J. R. DIXON, C., MCCARTHY, J. C. RAGE, B. SCHÀTTI & M.TORIBA 1993. Endoglyphs and other major venomous snakes of the world. A checklist. [type catalogue] Aire-Genève, Azemiops S. A. Herpetological Data Center: i-xv + 1-478.
  • Günther, A. 1895. Notice of Reptiles and Batrachians collected in the eastern half of tropical Africa. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 15: 523-529. - get paper here
  • Haagner,G.V.; Branch,W.R. & Haagner,A.J.F. 2000. Notes on a collection of reptiles from Zambia and adjacent areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Annals of the Eastern Cape Museum 1: 1 – 25
  • Jakobsen A. 1997. A review of some East African members of the genus Elapsoidea Bocage with the description of a new species from Somalia and a key for the genus (Reptilia, Serpentes, Elapidae). Steenstrupia 22: 59-82.
  • 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
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  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Loveridge,A. 1944. Further revisions of African snake genera. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 95 (2): 121-247 - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Mertens, R. 1938. Über eine herpetologische Sammlung aus dem Gebiete des Njarasa-Grabens Ost-Afrikas. Veröffentlichungen aus dem Deutschen Kolonial- und Übersee-Museum in Bremen 2 (1): 1-9 [no page numbers]
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  • Perret, J.L. 1961. Études herpétologiques africaines III. 1. La faune ophidienne de la région camerounaise. Bull. Soc. neuchâtel. Sci. nat., 84: 133-138
  • Pietersen, Darren, Verburgt, Luke & Davies, John 2021. Snakes and other reptiles of Zambia and Malawi. Struik Nature / Penguin Random House South Africa, 376 pp., ISBN 9781775847373
  • Sternfeld, R. 1917. Reptilia und Amphibia. In: Schubotz, H. (Hrsg.): Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Zweiten Deutschen Zentral-Afrika-Expedition, 1910-1911 unter Führung Adolph Friedrichs, Herzog zu Mecklenburg. Leipzig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, [Band] 1, Zoologie, Lieferung 11; S. 407-510. - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F. & R. ROUX-ESTÈVE 1995. Les serpents du Congo: liste commentée et clé de détermination. Journal of African Zoology 109 (1): 31-50
  • 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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