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Oxybelis rutherfordi JADIN, BLAIR, ORLOFSKE, JOWERS, RIVAS, VITT, RAY, SMITH & MURPHY, 2020

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Rutherford’s Vine Snake 
SynonymOxybelis rutherfordi JADIN, BLAIR, ORLOFSKE, JOWERS, RIVAS, VITT, RAY, SMITH & MURPHY 2020
Dendrophis auratus – COURT 1858: 411
Dryiophis aeneus – GARMAN 1887: 284
Oxybelis acuminatus – MOLE & URICH 1894: 86
Oxybelis aeneus aeneus – BOGERT & OLIVER 1945: 381
Oxybelis aeneus – BEEBE 1952: 175
Oxybelis A. aeneus – WEHEKIND 1960: 75
Oxybelis ae. aeneus – MERTENS 1972: 18 
DistributionTrinidad, Margarita Island, Los Testigos Archipelago, adjacent Venezuela (Llanos and the Orinoco Delta), French Guiana

Type locality: Trinidad, Arima Valley, William Beebe Tropical Research Centre, circa 6 km N Arima, 247m elevation,10°41′32′′N,61°17′22′′W.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: UTA R-64851 (Figs. 12 and 13), collected by Mike G. Rutherford 20:00 h, 31 March 2018. Measurement: SVL 745 mm, total length 1245 mm
Paratypes FMNH 215839, Trinidad, circa 2 miles south of Simla-Quarry Rd., on Arima-Blanchisseuse Rd. (10° 39′2 1.73′′ N, 61° 17′ 22.77′′ W), JCM, M. Dloogatch, and Reznick; FMNH 49978 and 49982 Trinidad, San Rafael (10° 33′ 59 ′′ N, 61° 15′ 59′′ W); FMNH 215838, circa 3 mi. south of Simla- Quarry Rd., on Arima-Blanchisseuse Rd., egg farm (10° 39′ 38′′ N, 61° 17′ 22′′ W), collected by JCM, M. Dloogatch, and R. Humbert; MBLUZ 1268, between San Francisco de Macanao and Cerro Los Cedros, Isla de Margarita, Nueva Esparta, Venezuela (11° 01′ 34′′ N, 64° 17′ 30′′ W) by Gilson Rivas, Eusebio Millán, Ángel Fernández, and Reina Gonto on 10 October 2013. FMNH 17839–40, Puerto Viejo, Península de Paria, Sucre, Venezuela. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A vine snake with (1) two upper labials (4–5) bordering the orbit; (2) black spots or bars on anterior body, dorsum mostly uniform brown with little black pigment; there are small scattered black spots on the dorsum; (3) venter finely mottled with a pale mid-ventral stripe; (4) preocular shorter than the diameter of the eye; (5) second pair of chin shields in contact for most of their length; (6) eight upper labials with three labials behind orbit; (7) snout from above narrow, tapered, and rounded at the rostrum (snout type B); (8) supraoculars longer than the prefrontals; (9) last upper labial longer than the primary temporal; (10) lower surface of head uniform in color; (11) second upper labial does not contact the preocular.

Coloration and pattern (Figs. 12 and 14) Crown is brown sometimes with small black spots. Overall head and body brown or gray–brown, upper and lower labials intense yellow and separated from the brown by a black stripe on the dorsal edge of the second labial that extends past the eye to the last labial; ventral surface of head yellow transitioning to cream posteriorly. Small black dash-like marks on scale rows 1–7 on the upper edge of each scale, separated by two scale rows. Ventral surface is yellow to cream with finely stippled pigment most restricted to the outer edges of the ventrals leaving an indistinct mid-ventral stripe. Ventrals may have small black marks with irregular borders. In preservative, the brown pigment fades to gray.

Comparison A vine snake with eight upper labials, two of them border the orbit, three are behind the orbit, and the shortest is the seventh. All other brown vine snake species have eight or nine upper labials with three bordering the orbit and the shortest is the seventh. Oxybelis aeneus, O. koehleri, O. microphthalmus, and those from Panama have eight or nine upper labials and the fifth is the shortest. 
CommentHabitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018, by implication). 
EtymologyNamed in honor of Mike G. Rutherford, collector of the holotype and curator of the Zoology Museum at the University of the West Indies, for his contributions to the zoology and natural history of Trinidad and Tobago. 
References
  • Beebe, W. 1952. Introduction to the ecology of Arima Valley, Trinidad, B.W.I. Zoologica, 37: 157–183
  • Bogert, Charles M.; Oliver, James A. 1945. A preliminary analysis of the herpetofauna of Sonora. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 83 (6): 297-426
  • Court J 1858. Catalogue of Reptiles. In: DeVerteuil LAAG (Ed) Trinidad: Its Geography, Natural Resources, Administration, Present Condition, and Prospects. Ward and Lock, London, 440–441.
  • Garman, S. 1887. On West Indian reptiles in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, Mass. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 24: 278-286. - 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
  • Mertens, R. 1972. Herpetofauna tobagana. Stuttgarter Beitr. zur Naturkunde nr. 252 22 pp. - get paper here
  • MOLE, R. R., & F. W. URICH 1894. A preliminary list of the reptiles and batrachians of the island of Trinidad. J. Trinidad Field Natur. Club 2: 77-90
  • Wehekind, L. 1960. Trinidad snakes. Journal of the British Guiana Museum of Zoology, 27: 71–76
 
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