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Limnophis bangweolicus (MERTENS, 1936)

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Natricinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Eastern Striped Swamp Snake, Bangweulu Water Snake 
SynonymHelicops bangweolicus MERTENS 1936
Limnophis bangweolicus — BOGERT 1940
Limnophis bicolor bangweolicus — AUERBACH 1987: 161
Limnophis bangweolicus — BROADLEY 1991
Limnophis bangweolicus — HAAGNER et al. 2000
Limnophis bangweolicus — BROADLEY et al. 2003
Limnophis bangweolicus — BROADLEY & COTTERILL 2004
Limnophis bangweolicus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 384
Limnophis bangweolicus — CONRADIE et al. 2020 
DistributionZambia, west to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire: Katanga), E Angola, Botswana, Namibia

Type locality: Nsombo, Northern Rhodesia  
TypesHolotype: SMF 22172 
DiagnosisGeneral description: The body is cylindrical and elongated, tapering gradually to a rela- tively short tail (males: 20–26% of total length, females: 15–23% of total length). Head is small and barely wider than the ‘neck’. The eye is medium to large with a round pupil. Dorsal scales smooth with no apical pits, in 19-19-17 scale rows; ventrals 136–146 males, 132–150 females; cloaca divided; paired subcaudals 49–64 males, 32–56 females. One preocular; the nasal suture intersects the loreal and not the 1st supralabial; two posto- culars (rarely 3); temporal 1 + 2 (rarely 1 + 2 + 3); the parietal rarely in direct contact with 6th supralabial (in 22% of material examined); supralabials 8–9 (rarely 7), usually 3rd and 4th (sometimes 3rd to 5th) contacting the eye, 6th the largest; infralabials 9–10, first five (rarely four) in contact with the 1st chin shields. Maxillary teeth 22–25, slightly increasing in size posteriorly (Bogert 1940, Conradie et al. 2020).

Colouration: The dorsum is dark olive brown with an olive brown vertebral band that covers seven scale rows, this is flanked by a broad pale brown stripe on either side of the body, 2–3 scale rows wide, the lower flanks are paler than vertebral scales, with three or four outer scale rows black-edged above and below, forming continuous or stippled black lines from head to tail. The venter is yellow to brick red. The supra- and infra- labials and chin shields are often black-edged below and above forming pale cream- coloured longitudinal stripes that connect with the black dorsolateral black lines. The sub- caudals are dark edged, forming a black median line from vent to tail tip (Conradie et al. 2020).

Size: Largest male 386 + 113 = 499 mm (PEM R18934, Mbola, Zambia); largest female 558 + 127 = 685 mm (TM 47715, Lake Liambezi, Namibia) (Conradie et al. 2020). 
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • 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
  • Bogert,C.M. 1940. Herpetological results of the Vernay Angola Expedition. I. Snakes, including an arrangement of the African Colubridae. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 77: 1-107
  • 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. 1974. The Striped Swamp Snake Limnophis bicolor - A New Snake for Rhodesia. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (12): 8-8 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1991. The Herpetofauna of Northern Mwinilunga Distr., Northw. Zambia. Arnoldia Zimbabwe 9 (37): 519-538
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. The reptilian fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In: Schmidt, K.P. and Noble, G.K., Contributions to the Herpetology of the Belgian Congo... [reprint of the 1919 and 1923 papers]. SSAR Facsimile reprints in Herpetology, 780 pp.
  • 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.
  • Conradie W, Bills R, 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; V Deepak , Chad Keates & David J Gower 2020. Kissing cousins: a review of the African genus Limnophis Günther, 1865 (Colubridae: Natricinae), with the description of a new species from north-eastern Angola. African Journal of Herpetology - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1865. Fourth account of new Species of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 89-98. - 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
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa, 2nd ed. Struik Publishers, 312 pp.
  • 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, Robert 1936. Eine neue Natter der Gattung Helicops aus Inner-Afrika. Zoologischer Anzeiger 114: 284-285
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Pietersen DW, Pietersen EW, Conradie W. 2017. Preliminary herpetological survey of Ngonye Falls and surrounding regions in south-western Zambia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 11(1) [Special Section]: 24–43 (e148 - 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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