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Oxyrhopus occipitalis (WIED-NEUWIED, 1824)

IUCN Red List - Oxyrhopus occipitalis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymNatrix occipitalis WIED-NEUWIED in SPIX 1824
Oxyrhopus occipitalis (WAGLER) — LYNCH 2009
Oxyrhopus occipitalis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 519 
DistributionEcuador, Brazil (Pará, Acre etc.), Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Peru (see comment)

Type locality: Rio Solimõens, Amazonas, Brazil  
TypesLectotype, ZSM 2053/0, a 746 mm male (collected by Spix and Martius expedition to Brazil 1817-1820), designated by Hoogmoed and Gruber, 1983: 328. 
CommentSynonymy: Bailey (1970) synonymised O. occipitalis with O. formosus, despite his stated belief that the latter consists of a complex of species. Oxyrhopus occipitalis was revalidated by Hoge et al. (1973). Hence not listed by PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970, nor by FRANK & RAMUS 1995, nor by PEREZ-SANTOS & MORENO 1988. Nogueira et al. 2019 9Atlas) considered O. occipitalis and O. formosus as synonyms.

Similar species: Due to confusion with O. formosus (Wied-Neuwied), the entire range of this species cannot be determined until a revision of the formosus complex is undertaken. Perhaps some of the specimens listed under O. formosus will turn out to be O. occipitalis (Wallach and Williams, unpubl.). What was reported as Clelia bicolor from northeastern Peru by Dixon & Soini (1977, 1986) is almost certainly O. occipitalis. The specimens reported as O. formosus from eastern Ecuador (Duellman, 1978) are O. occipitalis, based on the color description provided. O. occipitalis may be confused with juvenile Clelia clelia and with Pseudoboa neuwiedii. O. occipitalis exhibits strong ontogenetic change in color pattern (juveniles have a yellow head with the body and tail banded black and yellow-white whereas adults have a yellow snout (extending to the suture between the prefrontals and frontal), rest of black head, and red body and tail [scale tips black], LYNCH 2009). RIVAS et al. 2012 follow MacCulloch et al. (2009) and consider the specimens reported as O. formosus from Venezuela to be O. occipitalis.

Oxyrhopus occipitalis differs from O. formosus by its slender body form (more robust in O. formosus), snout yellow and top of head brown (entire head yellow or cream), adults red with very faint body bands (adults with prominent black bands). 
  • BERNARDE, P.S., ALBUQUERQUE, S., BARROS, T.O. & TURCI, L.C.B. 2012. Serpentes do Estado de Rondônia, Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 12(3): 1-29 - get paper here
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  • Spix, J.B. von. 1824. Serpentum brasiliensium species novae ou histoire naturelle des espèces nouvelles de serpens, recueillies et observées pendant le voyage dans l'intérieur du Brésil dans les années 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, exécuté par ordre de sa majesté le Roi de Bavi Typis Franc. Seraph. Hübschmanni, Monachii viii + 75 pp. - get paper here
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  • 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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