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Philothamnus bequaerti (SCHMIDT, 1923)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Bequaert's Green Snake 
SynonymChlorophis bequaerti SCHMIDT 1923: 75
Philothamnus irregularis — SCHMIDT 1923: 76 (fide HUGHES 1985)
Philothamnus bequaerti — HUGHES 1985
Philothamnus bequaerti — BROADLEY 1998
Philothamnus bequaerti — CHIRIO & INEICH 2006
Philothamnus bequaerti — WALLACH et al. 2014: 554
Philothamnus bequaerti — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 487 
DistributionCentral African Republic, Cameroon, Uganda, S Sudan (Jumhūriyyat), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), W Ethiopia, W/N Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)

Type locality: Niangara, Democratic Republic of the Congo  
TypesHolotype: AMNH 12080, a 652 mm male (H. Lang and J. P. Chapin, Nov. 1910). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Habitus very slender, tail one-third the total length; ventral plates distinctly keeled; anal entire; three labials entering the eye; one anterior temporal; dorsal scales in fifteen rows; ventrals 164-170, subcaudals, 123 (Schmidt 1923).

Chlorophis bequaerti is distinguished from C. carinatus by the fifteen dorsal scales and the single anterior temporal. From C. heterodermus, its closest ally, it is distinguishable by the single anterior temporal, the longer tail and higher number of subcaudals, and by a higher number of ventral plates (Schmidt 1923).

Description: Habitus slender, slight compressed, tail length .33 of the t,ot,al,eye large, canthus rostralis distinct. Rostral slightly wider than high, visible from above. Internasals considerably smaller than the prefrontals. Frontal bell-shaped, longer than its distance from the end of the snout, shorter than the parietals. Nasal divided, in contact with the first and second labials. Loreal rectangular, tmice as long as high. A single preocular barely in contact with the frontal; two postoculars. Temporals, 1-1. Nine upper labials, fourth, fifth and sixth entering the eye. Eleven lower labials, first.five in contact wit,h the anterior chin shields. Posterior chin shields longer, with a long median suture. Dorsal scales, 15-15-11, very oblique anteriorly. Ventral plates 164, with a distinct keel. Subcaudals, 123. Total length 652 mm., tail 212 mm. (.33) (Schmidt 1923).

Coloration: dark bluish gray above and below. Posterior chin shields and gulars light (Schmidt 1923). 
CommentHas been confused with P. angolensis by Rasmussen (1991) and is probably absent from the Congo (but present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!).

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. Joseph Charles Bequaert (1886-1982), a Belgian botanist, entomologist, and malacologist who graduated with a doctorate in botany from the University of Ghent (1906). He later worked for the colonial government in the Belgian Congo (1910-1915). He moved to the USA (1916), becoming a U.S. citizen (1921). He was a Research Assistant, American Museum of Natural History (1917-1922), then worked at Harvard (1923-1956), initially teaching entomology at Harvard Medical School and finally becoming Professor of Zoology, Museum of Comparative Zoology. See Beolens et al. 2011 for more details. 
  • Behangana, Mathias; Richard Magala, Raymond Katumba, David Ochanda, Stephen Kigoolo, Samuel Mutebi, Daniele Dendi,, Luca Luiselli, and Daniel F. Hughes 2020. Herpetofaunal diversity and community structure in the Murchison Falls-Albert Delta Ramsar site, Uganda: Herpetofaunal diversity. European Journal of Ecology, 6(2)
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. The reptilian fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In: Schmidt, K.P. and Noble, G.K., Contributions to the Herpetology of the Belgian Congo... [reprint of the 1919 and 1923 papers]. SSAR Facsimile reprints in Herpetology, 780 pp.
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Chirio, Laurent and Ivan Ineich 2006. Biogeography of the reptiles of the Central African Republic. African Journal of Herpetology 55(1):23-59. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Hughes, B. 1985. Progress on a taxonomic revision of African green tree snakes (Philothamnus spp.). In: Schuchmann, K.L. (ed.) Proceedings of the International Symposium on African Vertebrates. ZFMK, Bonn, pp. 511-530
  • JACOBSEN, N.H.G. 2009. A contribution to the herpetofauna of the Passendro Area, Central African Republic. African Herp News (47): 2-20 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Largen,M.J. & Rasmussen,J.B. 1993. Catalogue of the snakes of Ethiopia (Reptilia Serpentes), including identification keys. Tropical Zoology 6: 313-434 - get paper here
  • Rasmussen,J.B. 1991. Snakes (Reptilia: Serpentes) from the Kouilou River basin, including a tentative key of the snakes of the République du Congo. Tauraco Report 4: 175-188
  • Schmidt, K. P. 1923. Contributions to the herpetology of the Belgian Congo based on the collection of the American Museum Congo Expedition, 1909-1915. Part II. Snakes, with field notes by Herbert Lang and James P. Chapin. Bull. Amer. Mus. nat. Hist. 49 (1): 1-146 - get paper here
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • 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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