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Lamprophis aurora (LINNAEUS, 1758)

IUCN Red List - Lamprophis aurora - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Aurora House Snake
G: Aurora-Hausschlange 
SynonymColuber Aurora LINNAEUS 1758: 219 (?)
Coluber aurora — SHAW 1802: 544
Natrix aurora — MERREM 1820: 97
Lycodon aurora BOIE 1827: 523
Coronella aurora — SCHLEGEL 1837: 75
Lamprophis aurora — FITZINGER 1843: 25
Lamprophis aurora — DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 431
Lamprophis aurora — SYMONDS 1887: 488
Lamprophis aurora — BOULENGER 1893: 321
Lamprophis aurora — SCHMIDT & KUNZ 2005: 91
Lamprophis aurora — MATTISON 2007: 242
Lamprophis aurora — KELLY et al. 2011
Lamprophis aurora — WALLACH et al. 2014: 353
Lamprophis aurora — TIUTENKO et al. 2022 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Cape Province north to Transvaal), Swaziland, E Botswana

Type locality: “America” (fide LINNAEUS 1758; in error)  
TypesType: NRM (= NHRM) (Stockholm) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus, revised fide KELLY et al. 2011): An endemic southern African genus diagnosed by the following combination of characters: body elongated to stocky, and tail moderate to short; head moderate to small and generally rounded, slightly to moderately broader than neck and distinct from it; eye small to moder-ate, with vertically elliptical pupil; midbody scale rows 19–25,vertebral row not enlarged; dorsal scales smooth, generally without apical pits (except in some aurora); ventrals 165–230, without lateral keel; subcaudals paired, 28–74; anal entire; maxilla with six anterior teeth increasing in size to the 6th, followed (sometimes after a short diastema) by 9–13 ungrooved teeth gradually decreasing in size posteriorly; hemipenis variable – unforked (guttatus) or shallowly forked, shaft nude or spinose, with or without basal spines; distally, 6–8 pinnate rows of ossified spines that may be slightly webbed and decrease in size towards organ apex; lobes encircled by 3–4 (fuscus) or 6–8 (aurora) rows of fine spines; sulcus semi-centrifugal, divided (Bogert, 1940; Broadley, 1990; Branch,1998). See Table 4 in KELLY et al. 2011 for additional data. 
CommentSynonymy partly after DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854.

Type species: Coluber Aurora LINNAEUS 1758 is the type species of the genus Lamprophis. Note that KELLY et al. (2011) distinguish between Lamprophis (sensu strictu) and Boaedon (which they resurrected).

Distribution: for a map of the genus see Tiutenko et al. 2022: 258 (Fig. 12). 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bates, M.F.; Douglas, R.M. 1993. Life History Notes - Lamprophis aurora. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (42): 38-39 - get paper here
  • Boie, F. 1827. Bemerkungen über Merrem's Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien, 1. Lieferung: Ophidier. Isis von Oken 20: 508-566. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1887. Synopsis of the snakes of South Africa. The Zoologist, London, (3) 11: 171-182
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Branch W R 1984. The house snakes of southern Africa (genus Lamprophis). Litteratura Serpentium 4 (3-4): 106-120
  • 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. 1990. Geographical Distribution - Lamprophis aurora. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (37): 56-56 - get paper here
  • Fitzinger, L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel, Wien: 106 pp. - get paper here
  • Fitzsimons, V. 1966. A check-list, with syntopic keys, to the snakes of southern Africa. Annals Transvaal Museum 25 (3): 35-79 - get paper here
  • Fraser M. 2023. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 13: 162–185. 14 March 2023 - get paper here
  • Hall, R.; Haagner, G.V. 1993. Life History Notes - Lamprophis aurora. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (42): 38-38 - get paper here
  • Hermann R 1989. Lamprophis aurora (Linnaeus 1754), eine selten gehaltene Hausschlange. Sauria 11 (3): 25-30 - get paper here
  • Hörold, Ralf 2020. Haltung und Nachzucht von Lepidodactylus lugubris (DUMERIL & BIBRON, 1836) als Aufzuchtfutter für Echsen fressende Schlangen. Ophidia 14 (1): 2-14
  • Kelly, Christopher M.R.; William R. Branch, Donald G. Broadley, Nigel P. Barker, Martin H. Villet 2011. Molecular systematics of the African snake family Lamprophiidae Fitzinger, 1843 (Serpentes: Elapoidea), with particular focus on the genera Lamprophis Fitzinger 1843 and Mehelya Csiki 1903. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 58(3): 415-426 - get paper here
  • Kunz, K. 2018. Götterdämmerung! Haltung und Nachzucht der Aurora-Hausschlange. Reptilia 23 (129): 30-37
  • Laita, Mark 2013. Serpentine. Abrams and PQ Blackwell, Auckland, New Zealand, 200 unnumbered pages
  • Linnaeus, C. [= Linné, C. von] 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - get paper here
  • Mattison, Chris 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press
  • Merrem, B. 1820. Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien I (Tentamen Systematis Amphibiorum). J. C. Kriegeri, Marburg, 191 pp. - get paper here
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Schiffers-Lange, Josef 1995. Erfolgreiche Nachzucht von Lamprophis aurora (Linnaeus 1754). Elaphe 3 (4): 18-21
  • Schlegel, H. 1837. Essai sur la physionomie des serpens. Partie Descriptive. La Haye (J. Kips, J. HZ. et W. P. van Stockum), 606 S. + xvi - get paper here
  • Schmidt, D. & Kunz, K. 2005. Ernährung von Schlangen. Natur und Tier Verlag, Münster, 159 pp. - get paper here
  • Shaw, G. 1802. General Zoology, or Systematic Natural History. Vol.3, part 2. G. Kearsley, Thomas Davison, London: 313-615 - get paper here
  • Symonds, E. 1887. Notes on some species of South-African snakes. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1887: 486-489 - get paper here
  • Tiutenko, A., Koch, C., Pabijan, M., & Zinenko, O. 2022. Generic affinities of African house snakes revised: a new genus for Boodon erlangeri (Serpentes: Elapoidea: Lamprophiidae: Lamprophiinae). SALAMANDRA, 58(4), 235-262 - 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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