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Prosymna janii BIANCONI, 1862

IUCN Red List - Prosymna janii - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaProsymnidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Mozambique Shovel-snout, Keel-scaled Shovel-snout 
SynonymProsymna janii BIANCONI 1862
Prosymna jani — LOVERIDGE 1958
Prosymna janii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 580 
DistributionS Mozambique, Republic of South Africa (N Zululand, Natal)

Type locality: Inhambane, Mozambique.  
TypesHolotype: MZUB (was: IBI) a 180 mm male. 
DiagnosisDescription. Rostral with angular horizontal edge; separated by the single bandlike internasal from the single prefrontal; frontal large: loreal longer than high; preocular 1; postoculars 2-3; temporals 1 + 2; upper labials 6-7, the third and fourth entering the orbit; lower labials 8, the first four in contact with the sublinguals. Midbody scale-rows 15-17 (15 in Kosi Bay snake, said to be 17 in Inhambane type) keeled; ventrals 113-119; anal entire; subcaudals 3-37 [from LOVERIDGE 1958].

Color. Above, head yellowish, a black crossbar on the pre frontal extends backwards over frontal to unite with a black area covering parietals and nape, except for a light cordiform patch on nape; body pale reddish brown with a double series of conspicuous black spots along the anterior two-thirds of the back. Below, yellowish-white, uniform [from LOVERIDGE 1958].

Remarks. Nothing in the bibliography adds anything to the original descriptions of Bianconi and Jan, which are frequently in disagreement. Ventrals are given as 117 and 119 for the holo- type, subcaudals as 32 and 37. When Peters (1882a) gave the latter as 34 he was perhaps trying to strike an average. Though both give the scale-rows as 17, Jan adds that they are reduced to 15 posteriorly. There are certainly only 15 in the Kosi Bay snake which I have examined, and I suspect that the count of 17 was made in advance of midbody. Only these two examples of this handsome little species are known [from LOVERIDGE 1958]. 
CommentHabitat: restricted to coastal dune forest and thicket. 
EtymologyNamed after Giorgio Jan (1791-1866), Austrian-born botanist and professor in Parma and Milan, Italy. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bianconi, J. J. 1862. Specimina zoologica Mosambicana. De Reptilibus. Mem. Acad. Sci. Ist. Bologna (Ser. 2) 1: 469-472 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1980. A revision of the African snake genus Prosymna Gray. Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat., Paris 22: 362-382
  • Broadley, D.G. 1980. A Revision of the African snake genus Prosymna Gray (Colubridae). Occ.Pap.natl.Mus.Rhod. 6 (7): 481-556
  • 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
  • Jordaan, P.R., Steyl, J.C.A., Hanekom, C.C., Xander Combrink 2020. Fire-associated reptile mortality in Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa. Fire Ecol (2020) 16: 3 - get paper here
  • Lönnberg, E. 1910. Two new snakes from Lower Congo. Arkiv för Zoologi 7 (8): 1-8 - get paper here
  • Loveridge,A. 1958. Revision of five african snake genera. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 119: 1-198 (141) - 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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