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Oxybelis potosiensis (TAYLOR, 1941)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Gulf Coast Vine Snake
G: Golfküste-Erzspitznatter 
SynonymOxybelis potosiensis TAYLOR 1941
Dryinus aeneus – WAGLER 1824: 12 (part.)
Oxybelis aeneus – DUMÉRIL et al. 1854: 819 (part.)
Dryophis acuminata – GÜNTHER 1858: 156 (part.)
Oxybelis acuminata – BOULENGER 1896: 192 (part.)
Oxybelis aeneus auratus – BOGERT & OLIVER 1945: 381
Oxybelis aeneus – KEISER 1974: 7
Oxybelis potosiensis — JADIN et al. 2020 
DistributionMexico (San Luis Postosí and northern Veracruz, southward to Yucatan), Belize

Type locality: (32 mi) 36 km northwest of Ciudad Maíz (circa 22° 30′ N, 99° 56′ W), San Luis Potosí, Mexico.  
TypesHolotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 5069 (23614), female, E. H. Taylor; Summer, 1940. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A vine snake with (1) two or three upper labials (4–5 or 4–5–6) bordering the orbit; (2) transverse black bars on the anterior body; (3) venter finely mottled, a stripe or stripes are not apparent; (4) eye diameter longer than preocular; (5) second pair of chin shields are in contact for most of their length; (6) nine upper labials, two or three upper labials behind the orbit; (7) snout from above is very broad, slightly tapered, and rostral is very rounded (snout type C); (8) supraocular and prefrontals about the same length; (9) last upper labial equal or greater in length than the primary temporal; (10) underside of head uniform white or cream; and (11) second upper labial does not contact the preocular. (Keiser 1974, Jadin et al. 2020).

Variation In males, total lengths vary from 1175 to 1535 mm (n = 4, x = 1371.75, SD = 164.08) and tails vary from 500 to 628 mm (n = 4, x = 564.75, SD = 58.09). Tail/SVL ratios in males vary from 0.67 to 0.69 (x = 0.68, SD = 0.01). In females, total lengths vary from 804 to 1272 mm (n = 3, x = 1083.33, SD = 201.53), SVL vary from 734 to 804 mm (n = 3, x = 761.67, SD = 30.40), and tail lengths vary from 440 to 525 mm (n = 2, x = 482.5, SD = 42.50); one female had a tail/ SVL ratio that was 0.70.
Ventrals in males vary from 174 to 190 (n = 6, x = 185.67, SD = 5.73); ventrals in females vary from 186 to 195 x = 191.67, SD = 4.03). No subcaudal counts were taken because of broken or questionable tail tips (Jadin et al. 2020).

Coloration and pattern In alcohol (UIMNH 25069), head and body gray–brown, upper labials cream and separated from the gray–brown by a black stripe; ventral surface of head cream transitioning to yellow posteriorly. Transverse black bars on the anterior body. No ventral stripes (Fig. 11 in Jadin et al. 2020).

Comparison A vine snake with nine upper labials, two bordering the orbit, eye diameter greater than the length of the preocular, and second pair of chin shields in contact for most of their length. Specimens of Oxybelis aeneus and those from northern South America have the second pair of chin shields separated by smaller scales. Specimens of O. aeneus, O. koehleri, O. microphthalmus, and those from Panama have three upper labials bordering the orbit (Jadin et al. 2020). 
CommentHabitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018, by implication). 
EtymologyThe generic name Oxybelis is derived from the Greek words oxy, meaning "pointed" and belas, meaning "dart," in reference to the elongated head. The specific epithet is the Latin word aeneus, meaning "bronze, or copper" in reference to the body color of the holotype (LEMOS-ESPINAL & DIXON 2013). 
  • Bogert, Charles M.; Oliver, James A. 1945. A preliminary analysis of the herpetofauna of Sonora. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 83 (6): 297-426
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Jadin RC, Jowers MJ, Orlofske SA, Duellman WE, Blair C, Murphy JC 2021. A new vine snake (Reptilia, Colubridae, Oxybelis) from Peru and redescription of O. acuminatus. Evolutionary Systematics 5(1): 1-12 - get paper here
  • Jadin, R.C., Blair, C., Orlofske, S.A. et al. 2020. Not withering on the evolutionary vine: systematic revision of the Brown Vine Snake (Reptilia: Squamata: Oxybelis) from its northern distribution. Org Divers Evol (2020) - get paper here
  • Keiser, E. D., Jr. 1974. A systematic study of the neotropical vine snake Oxybelis aeneus (Wagler). Bull. Texas Mem. Mus. 22: 1-51.
  • Taylor, Edward H. 1941. Herpetology Miscellany, No. II. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 27 (7): 105-132 - get paper here
  • Wagler, J. 1824. Serpentum Brasiliensium species novae, ou histoire naturelle des espèces nouvelles de serpens. In: Jean de Spix, Animalia nova sive species novae. [NAtrix bahiensis: 27,. Monaco, Typis Franc. Seraph. Hübschmanni, vii + 75 pp.
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