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Prosymna ambigua BOCAGE, 1873

IUCN Red List - Prosymna ambigua - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaProsymnidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesProsymna ambigua ambigua (BOCAGE 1873)
Prosymna ambigua bocagii BOULENGER 1897 
Common Namesambigua: East African Shovelsnout Snake
bocagii: Noertheast Congo Shovel-snout 
SynonymProsymna ambiguus BOCAGE 1873: 218
Prosymna vassei MOCQUARD 1906: 250
Prosymna meleagris concolor LÖNNBERG 1910
Prosymna transvaalensis HEWITT 1910: 1
Prosymna Vassei — CHABANAUD 1917: 225
Prosymna ambigua brevis LAURENT 1954: 50
Prosymna ambigua loveridgei LAURENT 1954: 56
Prosymna ambigua urundiensis LAURENT 1954: 56
Prosymna ambigua urundiensis — LOVERIDGE 1958
Prosymna ambigua brevis — LOVERIDGE 1958
Prosymna ambigua transvaalensis — LOVERIDGE 1958
Prosymna ambigua — BROADLEY et al. 2003: 190
Prosymna ambigua — WALLACH et al. 2014: 579
Prosymna ambigua — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 420

Prosymna ambigua ambigua BOCAGE 1873
Prosymna ambigua ambigua — UTHMÖLLER 1941
Prosymna ambigua ambigua — LAURENT 1954: 52
Prosymna ambigua ambigua — LOVERIDGE 1955
Prosymna ambigua ambigua — BROADLEY 1991: 530
Prosymna ambigua ambigua — HAAGNER et al. 2000

Prosymna ambigua bocagii BOULENGER 1897
Prosymna bocagii BOULENGER 1897: 278
Prosymna bocagei — LÖNNBERG 1910
Prosymna ambigua — SCHMIDT 1923: 89
Prosymna ambigua bocagei — LAURENT 1954: 54
Prosymna ambigua bocagii — LOVERIDGE 1958
Prosymna ambigua bocagii — PITMAN 1974
Prosymna ambigua bocagii — BROADLEY 1980
Prosymna ambigua bocagii (inc. sed.) — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 29
Prosymna ambigua bocagii — CHIRIO & LEBRETON 2007 
DistributionNE Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire; except in the east), Congo (Brazzaville), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Uganda, Central African Republic, Tanzania (Uluguru Mountains), Somalia, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Cameroon, Zambia

Type locality: Duque de Braganea, Angola.

bocagii: S Cameroon east through N Zaire to the S Sudan (Jumhūriyyat), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Uganda, W Kenya, NW Tanzania (Bukoba) and Burundi; Central African Republic. Type locality: Zongo, Ubangi Rapids, Zaire.  
TypesHolotype: MB (Museu Bocage) 610, a 121 mm female (Bayão, 1863), destroyed by fire. {fide Hughes}
Holotype: RMCA 11 (also given as RGMC) [bocagii]
Types: MD (Museu Dundo) [brevis] 
DiagnosisDescription (ambigua): Laurent 1954: 53

Description (bocagei): Laurent 1954: 54

Description (urundiensis): Laurent 1954: 56

Description (loveridgei): Laurent 1954: 56

Description (vassei): MOCQUARD 1906: 250 
CommentSynonymy partly after WALLACH (pers. comm.).

Stenorhabdium was based by Werner on a single shrivelled snake of indefinite locality. Loveridge (1958) suggested that its condition masked its true appearance and resulted in some erroneous interpretations of what may have been a slightly aberrant stuhlmanni. Loveridge failed to locate the holotype, so it may have been lost.

Subspecies: LOVERIDGE 1958 provided descriptions for all the subspecies that he considered as valid, including urundiensis, brevis, and transvaalensis. Prosymna ambigua stuhlmanni (PFEFFER 1893) is now considered as a valid species.

Distribution: not listed for Zimbabwe nor Botswana by BROADLEY & BLAYLOCK 2013.

Diet: reptile eggs 
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • Bocage, J.V.B. 1873. Melanges erpetologiques. II. Sur quelques reptiles et batraciens nouveaux, rares ou peu connus d‘Afrique occidentale. Jorn. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat. Lisboa 4: 209-227 - get paper here
  • Böhme W; Schneider B 1987. Zur Herpetofaunistik Kameruns (3) mit Beschreibung einer neuen Cardioglossa (Anura: Arthroleptidae). Bonner Zoologische Beiträge 38 (3): 241-263 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1897. A list of reptiles and batrachians from the Congo Free State, with the description of two new snakes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 19: 276-281 - get paper here
  • Boycott, R.C. 1992. An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1979. Predation on Reptile Eggs by African Snakes of the Genus Prosymna. Herpetologica 35 (4): 338-341 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1980. A Revision of the African snake genus Prosymna Gray (Colubridae). Occ.Pap.natl.Mus.Rhod. 6 (7): 481-556
  • Broadley, D.G. 1991. The Herpetofauna of Northern Mwinilunga Distr., Northw. Zambia. Arnoldia Zimbabwe 9 (37): 519-538
  • Broadley, D.G. 1992. Reptiles and amphibians from the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique. Arnoldia Zimbabwe 9 (38): 539-548
  • Broadley, D.G.; Doria, C.T. & Wigge, J. 2003. Snakes of Zambia. An Atlas and Field Guide. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 280 pp. [review in Sauria 26 (3): 21]
  • Broadley, Donald G. 1999. Geographic Distribution. Prosymna ambigua bocagii Boulenger, 1897 Bocage's Shovel-snout. African Herp News (29): 44 - get paper here
  • Broadley, Donald G. and F. P. D. Cotterill. 2004. The reptiles of southeast Katanga, an overlooked 'hot spot'. [Congo]. African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 35-61. - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, Luis M. P.; Mariana P. Marques, Ilunga André, Esteves Afonso, David C. Blackburn & Aaron M. Bauer 2020. ILLUSTRATED TYPE CATALOGUE OF THE “LOST” HERPETOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS OF MUSEU DO DUNDO, ANGOLA. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 162 (7): 379-440 - get paper here
  • Chabanaud, P. 1917. Descriptions de trois espéces nouvelles de Reptilies de l'Afrique. Bull. Mus. nat. Hist. nat. Paris 23: 219-225 - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • 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.
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; NINDA L. BAPTISTA, LUKE VERBURGT, CHAD KEATES, JAMES HARVEY, TIMOTEO JULIO & GOTZ NEEF. 2021. Contributions to the herpetofauna of the Angolan Okavango-Cuando-Zambezi river drainages. Part 1: Serpentes (snakes). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 15(2): 244–278. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Jacobsen, Niels H.G.; Errol W. Pietersen & Darren W. Pietersen 2010. A preliminary herpetological survey of the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary on the San Sebastian Peninsula, Vilankulo, Mozambique. Herpetology Notes 3: 181-193
  • Lanza, B. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1988] - get paper here
  • Laurent, RAYMOND F. 1954. Reptiles et batraciens de la région de Dundo (Angola) (Deuxième note). Companhia de Diamantes de Angola (Diamang), Serviços Culturais, Publicações Culturais, No. 23: 37-84
  • Lönnberg, E. 1910. Two new snakes from Lower Congo. Arkiv för Zoologi 7 (8): 1-8 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1956. On snakes collected in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by J.S. Owen, Esq. Sudan Notes Rec. 36: 37-56 [1955]
  • Loveridge,A. 1958. Revision of five african snake genera. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 119: 1-198 (141) - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Mocquard 1906. Description de quelques reptiles et d’un batracien d’espèces nouvelles. Bull. Mus. natn. Hist. nat. Paris 12: 247-253 - get paper here
  • Monard, ALBERT 1931. Mission scientifique Suisse dans l'Angola. Résultats scientifiques. Reptiles. Bull. Soc. Neuchâtel Sci. Nat., vol. 33, pp. 89-111. [1930] - get paper here
  • Pfeffer, G. 1893. Ostafrikanische Reptilien und Amphibien, gesammelt von Herrn Dr. F. Stuhlmann im Jahre 1888 und 1889. Jb. Hamb. Wiss. Anst. 10: 71-105.
  • Pietersen, Darren, Verburgt, Luke & Davies, John 2021. Snakes and other reptiles of Zambia and Malawi. Struik Nature / Penguin Random House South Africa, 376 pp., ISBN 9781775847373
  • Pitman,C.R.S. 1974. A guide to the snakes of Uganda. Codicote, Wheldon & Wesley, L., 290 pp.
  • Rasmussen,J.B. 1981. The snakes from the rainforest of the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania: a checklist and key. Salamandra 17 (3-4): 173-188 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Stephen Spawls; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F. & R. ROUX-ESTÈVE 1995. Les serpents du Congo: liste commentée et clé de détermination. Journal of African Zoology 109 (1): 31-50
  • 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.
  • Zassi-Boulou, Ange Ghislain; Joseph Goma Tchimbakala, Lise Bethy Mavoungou, and Kate Jackson 2020. A Survey of Snakes in the Patte d’Oie Forest Reserve (Brazzaville, Republic of Congo): an Urban Snake Community in Central Africa. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 15 (1): - get paper here
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