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Masticophis mentovarius (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854)

IUCN Red List - Masticophis mentovarius - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesMasticophis mentovarius centralis ROZE 1953
Masticophis mentovarius mentovarius (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854)
Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis (PETERS 1868)
Masticophis mentovarius striolatus (MERTENS 1934)
Masticophis mentovarius variolosus (SMITH 1943) 
Common NamesE: Neotropical Whip Snake
G: Amerikanische Peitschennatter
S: Sabanera 
SynonymCoryphodon Mento-varius DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 187
Bascanium mentovarium — COPE 1879: 271
Coluber constrictor var. mentovarius — GARMAN 1884: 42
Coryphodon mentovarius — BOCOURT 1888 (fide VILLA et al. 1988)
Bascanion lineatum BACOURT 1890: 667
Zamenis mentovarius — BOULENGER 1893: 389
Masticophis mentovarius — ORTENBURGER 1923
Masticophis lineatus — TAYLOR 1938: 524
Masticophis flagellum lineatus — SCHMIDT 1947
Masticophis flagellum lineatus — HALL 1951
Masticophis mentovarius — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 189
Masticophis mentovarius — LINER 1994
Masticophis mentovarius — LEE 2000: 307
Coluber mentovarius — SAVAGE 2002: 651
Coluber mentovarius — UTIGER et al. 2005 (by implication)
Masticophis mentovarius — WALLACH et al. 2014: 418
Masticophis mentovarius — SUNYER 2014
Masticophis mentovarius — SOLIS et al. 2014
Coluber mentovarius — MCCRANIE 2015
Masticophis mentovarius — O’CONNELL et al. 2017
Masticophis mentovarius — MYERS et al. 2017
Masticophis lineatus — MATA-SILVA et al. 2019
Masticophis lineatus — AHUMADA-CARRILLO et al. 2020

Masticophis mentovarius mentovarius (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854)
Coryphodon Mento-varius DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 187
Bascanion suboculare COPE 1867: 319
Masticophis mentovarius mentovarius — SMITH 1942: 87
Masticophis mentovarius mentovarius — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970

Masticophis mentovarius centralis ROZE 1953
Coluber (Masticophis) mentovarius centralis ROZE 1953: 117
Masticophis mentovarius centralis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 189

Masticophis mentovarius striolatus (MERTENS 1934)
Coluber lineatus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854
Masticophis lineatus — ORTENBURGER 1928
Coluber striolatus MERTENS 1934 (nom. nov.)
Masticophis flagellum striolatus — DAVIS & SMITH 1953
Masticophis striolatus striolatus — ZWEIFEL & NORRIS 1955
Masticophis striolatus striolatus — LEWIS 1956
Masticophis striolatus — HARDY 1969: 184
Masticophis mentovarius striolatus — WEBB 1984
Masticophis mentovarius striolatus — TANNER 1985: 637
Masticophis striolatus — MEHRTENS 1987: 146

Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis (PETERS 1869)
Spilotes corais var. suborbitalis PETERS 1869: 641
Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis — SMITH 1942: 86
Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970
Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis — BAUER et al. 1995: 74
Masticophis mentovarius suborbitalis — GORZULA & SEÑARIS 1999

Masticophis mentovarius variolosus SMITH 1943
Masticophis flagellum variolosus SMITH 1943: 448
Masticophis flagellum variolosus — SMITH & TAYLOR 1945 
DistributionMexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Guerrero, Yucatan, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Aguascalientes, Michoacan, Quéretaro, Jalisco, Sonora, Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Puebla, Durango), Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela (Mérida, Cojedes), Isla Margarita

Type locality, "Mexique," restricted to "Tehuantepec, Oaxaca" by Smith and Taylor (1950: 340)

centralis: Colombia; Type locality: Maicao, Guajira, Colombia.

striolatus: Mexico (Sinaloa, Morelos, Chihuahua near the border of Sonora); Type locality: Mexico

suborbitalis: Venezuela (Mérida) [Esqueda & La Marca 1999]); Type locality: Caracas (Venezuela).

variolosus: Mexico (Tres Marias Islands); Type locality: Maria Magdalena Island, Tres Marias Islands.  
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 3199 and MNHN-RA 3331, both females
Holotype: USNM [variolosus]
Holotype: USNM 115107, juvenile male, found in the crop of a Buteo albicaudatus by A. Wetmore and M. A. Carriker, Jr., 16 April 1941 [centralis]
Lectotype: MNHN-RA 1648, adult female, collected by A. A. Duges in 1868; paralectotypes: MNHN-RA 1519-1520, MNHN-RA 1648. [striolatus]
Holotype: ZMB 3010, collector and date of collection unknown [suborbitalis]
Syntype: USNM 6753, 6762 [Bascanion suboculare] 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS. Masticophis mentovarius can be distinguished from its closest relative, M. flagellum (in sympatric areas), by the following characters: supralabials number 7 (8 in flagellum), or if 8, no spots on the chin and throat (the chin and throat are spotted in flagellum) (Johnson 1982).

DEFINITION. Masticophis mentovarius is a whipsnake with 19 anterior dorsal scales (17 at midbody) reduced to 13 or 12 near the vent, seven or eight supralabials, 166 to 205 ventrals, and 95 to 123 subcaudals. Adult dorsal color in life is some shade of brown or gray with variable secondary patterns (unicolored, dark stripes, apical spots, or indistinct stripes and bands), but prominent pale stripes are never present. The chin and throat mayor may not be spotted. Juveniles have either anterior banding or pale longitudinal stripes (Johnson 1982).

Diagnosis (centralis): A subspecies of the rassenkreis mentovarius, differing from all the other forms by having irregular dark transverse cross bands (blotches) on the dorsum in juveniles; nasal plate single; ventrals 192 and subcaudals 119/119-1 (Roze 1953: 117)

Coloration (centralis): body whitish brown with grey to dark grey transverse blotches on the anterior part of the body, which posteriorly become reduced to dark irregular spots. Shortly before the tail the body becomes uniformly brown, the coloration covering all the tail, the middle part of every scale being somewhat darker, thus giving the impression of very indistinct longitudinal lines (possible return to the adult coloration). Belly and the inferior part of the head immaculate, yellowish white. Head above with every shield framed more or less distinctly with a dark border; 2/3 of the inferior part of the supraocular and the anterior part of the postocular yellow as are most of the supralabials which also have dark spots on their superior part. All head shields below are immaculate yellow. Without the stratum corneum the yellow is white and the transverse grey blotches become still more distinguishable (Roze 1953: 118)

DEFINITION (striolatus). A subspecies with adult dorsal color of blue-gray to brown, with or without dark longitudinal stripes or spots. The ventral surface is immaculate white or cream. The chin and anterior ventrals are not spotted. Supralabials number 8 and ventrals usually number less than 190. Juveniles have pale transverse bands on the anterior portion of the body (Johnson 1982).

DEFINITION (suborbitalis): A subspecies with an adult dorsal color that is some shade of brown, with or without scattered dark spots or stippling. The ventral surface is immaculate white or cream, with or without a few spots on the labials and chin. Supralabials number 7. The juvenile pattern is similar to adult except for the presence of 4 or 5 pale longitudinal stripes on the neck (Johnson 1982).

Diagnosis (variolosus). “As in M. f. striolatus, except ventrals 192 to 197 in males, 195 to 197 in females; lips not notably mottled in adults” (SMith 1943: 448). 
CommentSynonymy after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970, who also list only 3 subspecies (mentovarius, centralis, suborbitalis). Philodryas varius was formerly considered to be a synonym of C. mentovarius but has been revalidated.

Distribution: not in Bolivia; Philodryas varius, a former synonym of C. mentovarius, does occur in Bolivia; however, P. varius has been revalidated, hence C. mentovarius does not occur in Bolivia (Thomas & Judd 1984). Reports from Brazil represent Erythrolamprus miliaris amazonicus (COSTA & BERNILS 2015). See map in Johnson 1982. 
EtymologyThe epithet mentovarius is derived from the Latin words mentum, meaning "chin" and varius, meaning "different or changeable," in reference to the mottled color of the infralabial region (LEMOS-ESPINAL & DIXON 2013). 
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