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Lycodonomorphus leleupi (LAURENT, 1950)

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Congo Dark-bellied Water-Snake, Mulanje Water Snake 
SynonymAblabophis whytei leleupi LAURENT 1950: 351
Lycodonomorphus rufulus leleupi — LOVERIDGE 1958
Lycodonomorphus leleupi — BROADLEY 1998
Lycodonomorphus leleupi — BROADLEY & COTTERILL 2004
Lycodonomorphus leleupi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 406 
DistributionS Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), E Zimbabwe, W Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia

Type locality: Kundelungu (Irsae biological station), 1750 metres, northwest Lake Tanganyika, Belgian Congo.  
TypesHolotype: RMCA (= MRAC) 17637, a 582 mm female (N. Leleup, April 1950). Paratypes: RMCA, 3 females. 
DiagnosisOriginal diagnosis: “Race d' Ablabophis whytei différant de la forme typique par un plus grand nombre de rangées d'écailles dorsales : 21 au milieu du corps au lieu de 19.” (Laurent 1950)

Temporals (holotype): 1+2+2; 1+2+3, (paratypes): 1+2+2;1+2+3 and 1+3+3; 1+2+3 and 1+3+3;1+2+4
Dorsals: (holotype): 21-21-17, (paratypes): 23--21--17 and 21-21-17 and 23-21-17
Ventrals: (holotype): 164; (paratypes): 168 and 164 and 170
Subcaudals: (holotype): 52, (paratypes): 46 and 51 and 52

“Huit labiales supérieures, les 4e et 5e bordant l'œil (neuf, les 5° et 6e bordant l'œil chez un paratype); huit labiales inférieures, les quatre premières bordant les sublinguales antérieures.” (Laurent 1950) 
CommentLycodonomorphus leleupi was thought to be conspecific with L. rufulus mlanjensis Loveridge of southern Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe (Broadley 1967). These are now considered to be sister species, distinguished by ventral colouration: dark with yellow patches and a dark tail in L. leleupi and yellow with a few dark spots and a dark median stripe on the subcaudals in L. mlanjensis.

Distribution: not in East Africa (i.e. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi fide S. Spawls, pers. comm., 28 June 2018) 
EtymologyNamed after the collector of the types, N. Leleup. 
  • 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, 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
  • Laurent,R.F. 1950. Reptiles nouveaux des Kundelungu. Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr. (Bruxelles) 43 (4): 349-352
  • Loveridge,A. 1958. Revision of five african snake genera. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 119: 1-198 (141) - 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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