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Leptophis urostictus (PETERS, 1873)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAhaetulla urosticta PETERS 1873: 606
Leptophis urostictus — BOULENGER 1894: 114
Leptophis occidentalis chocoensis OLIVER 1942: 15
Thalerophis richardi chocoensis — OLIVER 1948: 227
Leptophis ahaetulla chocoensis — ICZN 1958: 270
Leptophis ahaetulla chocoensis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 162
Leptophis ahaetulla urostictus — MERTENS 1973
Leptophis ahaetulla chocoensis — KLUGE 1984: 63
Leptophis urostictus — ALBUQUERQUE et al. 2022 
DistributionColombia

Type locality: “Bogota” (Colombia); restricted to the Choco area west of Bogota (fide Mertens 1973: 144)

chocoensis: Colombia; Type locality: El Río Condoté [Condoto], Camp Peña Lisa, Choco, Colombia (5°06’N, 76°42’W, 100 m asl).  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: ZMB 7786, female
Holotype: UMMZ 55528, male [chocoensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Leptophis urostictus can be distinguished from its congeners by the following unique combination of character states: (1) head scales narrowly edged with black and with no black spots; the presence of a broad black postocular stripe, occupying half or nearly all of anterior temporal and lower posterior temporal; (2) adult color pattern with no dark dorsal bands; (3) dorsal scale rows v to XI, before scale row reduction from 15 to 11, greenish blue in adults; (4) keeled dorsal scales, except first dorsal row on each side; keels on rows III to XII heavily black (more prominent on the paravertebral scales and less prominent in the rows below and at vertebral row); (5) no loreal scale; (6) ventrals 160–168 in males, 153–166 in females; (7) subcaudals 172–181 in males, 164–180 in females; (8) dorsal scales of tail with no keels; (9) maxillary teeth 22–23; (10) TL/SvL: 95% CI = 0.635–0.663 (n = 11); (11) moderately enlarged spines at first basal row of hemipenial body; (12) asulcate side of hemipenis similar to sulcate side.
Comparisons. Leptophis urostictus differs from all members of the L. ahaetulla complex by having dorsal keels on rows III to XII heavily black (more prominent on rows v–vII on each side, and less prominent on rows II–Iv and at vertebral row), before the reduction to 11 dorsal scale rows (Figs. 33–34) (vs. dorsal keels not black or slightly black on these rows). (Albuquerque et al. 2022).

Variation and sexual dimorphism. Largest male SvL 1081 mm, TL 696+ mm and largest female SvL 890 mm, TL 620 mm; ventrals 160–168 in males (163.4 ± 3.3, n = 7), 153–166 in females (162.8 ± 4.1, n = 8); subcaudals 172–181 in males (176.5 ± 6.4, n = 2), 164–180 in females (174.7 ± 5.5, n = 7); supralabials 9 (n = 15), and only two specimens with 8 on left side, with fourth–fifth (75.9%, n = 88), and fifth–sixth (24.1%, n = 28) bordering orbit; infralabials 9–12 (10.5 ± 0.8, n = 170), with first 6 (66.7%, n = 20), first 5 (30.0%, n = 9), and first 7 (3.3%, n = 1) contacting first chin shields; preocular 1 (n = 15); postoculars 2 (n = 14) and a single specimen with 3 on both sides; anterior temporal 1 (n = 15); posterior temporals 2 (n = 15); supracephalic scales of AMNH 107935, a male with 1586 mm in total length (tail incomplete), ornamented with numerous small, irregularly shaped black spots, similar to those found in L. bocourti; keels more developed in adult males than females and juveniles. Sexual dimorphism was not evident in the average number of ventrals (F = 0.1233; P = 0.7302) and was not tested to subcaudals due to the low number of specimens with intact tails. (Albuquerque et al. 2022).

Coloration in life. Dorsum of the head Cinnamon-Drab (50), with supracephalic scales narrowly edged with black; a broad black postocular stripe, occupying lower edge of upper postocular, upper edge of lower postocular, half or nearly all of anterior and posterior temporals, and upper edges of last two or three supralabials; before dorsal scale row reduction from 15 to 11, rows I–Iv Cyan (148) whereas rows v–XI Cinnamon-Drab (50); keels on rows III to XII heavily black (more prominent on paravertebral scales and less prominent in the rows below and at vertebral row); supralabials and infralabials white to Light Turquoise Green (146); chin and throat white; venter Pale Cyan (157). (Albuquerque et al. 2022). 
CommentSynonymy: after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970, STEJNEGER 1933, and Albuquerque et al. 2012. Mertens 1973 implicitly revalidated L. a. urostictus by synonymizing it with the junior synonym L. chocoensis.

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018, by implication). 
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