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Phalotris lemniscatus (DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL, 1854)

IUCN Red List - Phalotris lemniscatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesPhalotris lemniscatus lemniscatus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854
Phalotris lemniscatus iheringi (STRAUCH 1884)
Phalotris lemniscatus trilineatus (BOULENGER 1889) 
Common NamesE: Dumeril's Diadem Snake
Portuguese: Cabeça-Preta, Cabeça-Preta-da-Areia, Cabeça-Preta-da-Praia, Cabeça-Preta-Meridional, Cabeça-Preta-Pampeana 
SynonymElapomorphus lemniscatus lemniscatus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854: 840
Elapomorphus lemniscatus DUMÉRIL, BIBRON & DUMÉRIL 1854
Phalotris lemniscatus — COPE 1862
Elapomorphus lemniscatus — STRAUCH 1884: 567
Phalotris melanopleurus COPE 1885: 189 (part.)
Elapomorphus lemniscatus — AMARAL 1929 (part.)
Elapomorphus bilineatus lemniscatus — LEMA 1970
Elapomorphus bilineatus lemniscatus — LEMA 1979
Elapomorphus (Phalotris) lemniscatus lemniscatus — LEMA 1984
Elapomorphus (Phalotris) lemniscatus divittatus LEMA 1984
Elapomorphus lemniscatus lemniscatus — WILLIAMS & FRANCINI 1991
Elapomorphus (Phalotris) lemniscatus lemniscatus — CEI 1993
Phalotris lemniscatus divittatus — DE LEMA 1994
Phalotris divittatus — DE LEMA 2002
Phalotris lemniscatus — DE LEMA 2002
Phalotris lemniscatus — GRACA SALOMAO et al. 2003
Phalotris lemniscatus — JANSEN & KÖHLER 2008
Phalotris lemniscatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 547

Phalotris lemniscatus iheringi (STRAUCH 1884)
Elapomorphus iheringi STRAUCH 1884: 571
Phalotris melanopleurus COPE 1885 (part.)
Elapomorphus lemniscatus — BOULENGER 1896 (part.)
Elapomorphus bilineatus reticulatus — LEMA 1970
Elapomorphus (Phalotris) lemniscatus iheringi — LEMA 1984
Elapomorphus lemniscatus iheringi — WILLIAMS & FRANCINI 1991
Elapomorphus (Phalotris) lemniscatus iheringi — CEI 1993
Phalotris lemniscatus iheringi — DE LEMA 1994
Phalotris iheringi — DE LEMA 2002

Phalotris lemniscatus trilineatus (BOULENGER 1889)
Elapomorphus trilineatus BOULENGER 1889: 265
Phalotris lemniscatus trilineatus
Phalotris trilineatus — DE LEMA 2002
Phalotris trilineatus — DE LEMA 2011 
DistributionArgentina (Corrientes, Entre Ríos)

Type locality: South America.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 3668; BMNH 1946.1.2.90 is listed as type in the BMNH online catalog
Syntypes: ANSP 11213-14; Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul; [melanopleurus]
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.2.90, collected by H. von Ihering [trilineatus]
Holotype: MCN 3784 [divittatus]
Holotype: ZISP ? [iheringi]
Holotype: MNHN-RA (dry, dehydrated skin) [bilineatus]
Holotype: MSNG 30651 (Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova) [spegazzinii]
Holotype: USNM 48939 [suspectus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Phalotris lemniscatus can be distinguished from all congeners in the P. bilineatus group by a unique combination of the following characters: head dorsally black, with rostral and first supralabials lighter, and ventrally almost white (vs. head totally black in P. illustrator and P. spegazzinii); white nuchal collar present, 2–3 dorsal scales width, followed by a narrow black ring, one scale width (vs. nuchal collar absent in P. bilineatus, P. illustrator and P. spegazzinii); ventral scales almost black with the lateral and posterior edge white (vs. venter almost uniformly black in P. illustrator); flanks of the body with a black stripe on 3–5th dorsal rows, 1–2nd dorsal rows, white (vs. wider black lateral stripe 3–4 scales wide in P. illustrator, P. reticulatus and P. spegazzinii); cloacal black ring present (absent in P. multipunctatus); rostral well separated from the prefrontal (vs. rostral contacting the prefrontal or slightly separated in P. bilineatus). Additionally, P. lemniscatus have a well-defined vertebral stripe (vs. vertebral stripe absent or faded in other species, except P. illustrator, P. spegazzini and P. reticulatus). (Scrocchi et al. 2022).

Coloration (Fig. 4B). Dorsum of head dark (black to light brown); snout lighter than other cephalic portion in dorsal view; light area occupies the rostral, internasals and anterior prefrontal; head laterally black with first four supralabials mostly whitish or cream, and last supralabials dark; head ventrally almost white, usually with black to brown spots that run from the mental over the suture between chin-shields and all infralabials. Behind the head, there is an immaculate white ring of variable width in the dorsum, occupying from one to three dorsal scales and being commonly two scales wide. In all specimens, the white ring occupies the sides of the body. The white ring is bordered by front and rear by a thin black line. The dorsum of the body, behind the white ring, is reddish-brown. All specimens have three black stripes, one vertebral occupying the vertebral and half of paravertebral scales, and two lateral stripes on the sides of the body that run over the lower half of the fifth to the upper half of the third row of dorsal scales. The dorsal scales below the lateral black stripes to the venter are whitish. The tail coloration continues the pattern of the body. Dorsally, over the cloaca, there is a black ring of 5–7 dorsal scales wide, which extends to the differentiated white anal plates. The ventral scales are almost black, with the lateral and posterior edge white. Ventrally the tail is black, with mostly black subcaudals that have sutures and lateral edges white. The tip of the tail is black. (Scrocchi et al. 2022).

Variation. The largest specimen was a female 658 mm SVL and 51 mm tail. Tail short, corresponding to 8.5–11.8% of SVL in males and 7.8–9.4% in females. Males with 188–199 (x̅= 193.70, SD= 5.51, n= 3) ventral scales (180–200 reported for Brazilian and Uruguayan populations by Ferrarezzi, 1993a), females 202–217 (x̅= 209.33, SD= 10.60, n= 3; 195–217 reported for Brazilian and Uruguayan populations by Ferrarezzi 1993a). Subcaudal scales 29–31 (x̅= 30.30, SD= 0.58, n= 3) in males (21–36 reported by Ferrarezzi 1993a), and 25–31 in females (x̅ = 28.00, SD= 2.65, n= 3; 19–28 reported by Ferrarezzi, 1993a). The specimens studied have the typical head scales of the genus. The rostral is not projected backwards and is separated from the prefrontal. (Scrocchi et al. 2022). 
CommentVenomous!

Synonymy partly after PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970 and CEI 1993. Elapomorphus lemniscatus has been synonymized with E. bilineatus by PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970. All subspecies of E. lemniscatus have been elevated to species status by DE LEMA who also considers them as members of Phalotris. Wallach et al. 2014 list Elapomorphus trilineatus as a synonym of Phalotris lemniscatus. Giraudo & Scrocchi 2002 list Phalotris lemniscatus divittatus as synonym of Phalotris reticulatus, without further comment; Carreira 2005 and Wallach et al. 2014 list it as synonym of P. lemniscatus.
Elapomorphus spegazzinii and other species have been considered subspecies or synonyms of Phalotris (Elapomorphus) bilineatus (see e.g. PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970). De LEMA (1979) synonymizes Elapomorphus bilineatus with E. lemniscatus. CARREIRA et al. (2005) also list Phalotris bilineatus as synonym of Phalotris lemniscatus. Elapomorphus reticulatus PETERS 1860: 518 has been removed from the synonymy of E. bilineatus (by FERRAREZZI 1993). “Phalotris bilineatus" is a name based on a hybrid specimen between Phalotris suspectus x Phalotris spegazzinii (de Lema, 1984). GIRAUDO & SCROCCHI 2002 and more recently WALLACH et al. 2014: 535 list this species (incl. suspectus) as synonym of Ph. bilineatus. LEMA 2002 considered them as valid. COSTA & BERNILS 2015 consider bilineatus as a synonym of P. lemniscatus (following Lema 1979), hence Nogueira et al. 2019 do not list it in their Atlas either.

Distribution: See map in Scorcchi et al. 2002: 51 (Fig. 3). Reports from Paraguay (e.g. fide Paul Smith, pers. comm., 27 Apr 2014) represent other species now resurrected from P. lemniscatus. Probably in Uruguay and S Brazil as the species occurs near the borders in Argentina.

Subspecies: the status of Phalotris lemniscatus iheringi (STRAUCH 1884) remains questionable (C. Nogueira, pers. comm. 30 Sep 2016).

NCBI taxID: 1260395 [bilineatus] 
References
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