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Psammophis afroccidentalis TRAPE, BÖHME & MEDIANNIKOV, 2019

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: West-African Whip Snake
F: Psammophis ouest-africain
G: Westafrikanische Sandrennnatter 
SynonymPsammophis afroccidentalis TRAPE, BÖHME & MEDIANNIKOV in TRAPE et al. 2019
Psammophis sibilans — BOETTGER 1881: 395 (not Linnaeus)
Psammophis sibilans — BOULENGER 1896: 161 (part)
Psammophis sibilans — BOULENGER 1906: 214
Psammophis sibilans — STERNFELD 1908a: 412
Psammophis sibilans — CHABANAUD 1918: 165
Psammophis sibilans — ANGEL 1933a: 69
Psammophis sibilans — ANGEL1933b: 162, fig. 61
Psammophis sibilans — ANDERSSON 1937: 8
Psammophis sibilans — CANSDALE 1949: 106
Psammophis sibilans — HUGHES & BARRY 1969: 1023
Psammophis trinasalis — CHABANAUD 1918: 166 (Senegal) (not Werner)
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — LOVERIDGE 1940: 30 (part) (not Linnaeus)
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — LESTON 1950: 84
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1950: 93
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1951: 827
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1952: 892
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1953: 1119
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1954: 1242
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1956a: 880
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1956b: 158
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1963: 1372
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — VILLIERS 1975: 138
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — CONDAMIN 1958: 255
Psammophis sibilans sibilans — DOUCET 1963: 306
Psammophis phillipsii — BÖHME 1978: 398, Fig. 16, 17 (right) (not Hallowell)
Psammophis rukwae — BÖHME 1978: 401 (not Broadley)
Psammophis sibilans — ROMAN 1980: 61
Psammophis cf. rukwae — JOGER, 1981: 332 (not Broadley)
Psammophis cf. rukwae — JOGER 1982: 332
Psammophis sibilans — HUGHES 1983: 353 (part)
Psammophis cf. phillipsii — SCHÄTTI 1986: 771 (not Hallowell)
Psammophis rukwae — BÖHME 1987: 259
Psammophis cf. rukwae — GRUSCHWITZ et al. 1991: 30
Psammophis cf. phillipsii — RÖDEL et al. 1995: 7
Psammophis rukwae — BRANDSTÄTTER 1995: 151 (part)
Psammophis cf. phillipsii — BÖHME et al. 1996: 21
Psammophis cf. phillipsii — RÖDEL 1999: 170
Psammophis phillipsii — BÖHME 2000: 71
Psammophis sibilans — CHIPPAUX 2006: 175 (part)
Psammophis sibilans — TRAPE & MANÉ, 2000: 26
Psammophis sibilans — TRAPE & MANÉ 2002: 149; 2004: 21
Psammophis sibilans — TRAPE & MANÉ 2015: 45
Psammophis sibilans — VILLIERS & CONDAMIN 2005: 144
Psammophis sibilans — AULIYA et al., 2012: 280
Psammophis rukwae — CHIRIO 2009: 30
Psammophis cf. phillipsii — ULLENBRUCH et al., 2010: 43.
Psammophis sudanensis — ULLENBRUCH et al., 2010: 44 (not Werner)
Psammophis sudanensis — CHIRIO 2012: 83.
Psammophis sibilans — HUGHES 2012: 123; 125 (ZFMK 29365)
Psammophis sibilans — CHIRIO 2012: 83;
Psammophis sibilans — TRAPE & Baldé, 2014: 317.
Psammophis aff. sibilans — TRAPE & MANÉ 2017: 120 (not Linnaeus) 
DistributionMauritania (northernmost record: Tidra island 19°44’N, 16°24’W), Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali (northenmost record: Tinjemban 16°44’N, 02°50’W and along the Niger River), Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger (north- ernmost record: Azzel 17°03’N, 08°03’E), Nigeria and Chad (Mao). Possibly a relict population in southern Algeria (ZFMK 29365 from 200 km north of Tamanrasset, a damaged specimen previously assigned to P. rukwae by Böhme 1986 and to P. sibilans by Hughes 2012).

Type locality: Dakar Hann, Senegal (14°43’N, 17°26’W)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. MNHN-RA 2018.0013 (formerly IRD 7631.S, a male collected by J.-F. Trape on December 10th, 2005 (Figs. 13 & 14). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Distinguishable from other species of the P. sibilans group by the combination of the following characters: 17 scale rows around midbody, 156–185 ven- trals, 96–120 subcaudals (rarely less than 100), cloacal divided, 5 infralabials in contact with anterior sublin- guals (very rarely 4). Dorsum pale brown, dark brown or greenish-brown, rarely uniform, usually a vertebral chain with the scale of vertebral row paler at base, but this chain often restricted to part of the dorsum, ill-de- fined and occasionally totally absent; pale dorsolateral stripes on the 4th row of dorsals, but often ill-defined or absent; top of head with a pale median stripe on the snout which forks when reaching the frontal and then borders the frontal, but often ill defined or absent in adults. Ge- netically diagnosable through possession of unique mi- tochondrial haplotypes. Psammophis afroccidentalis sp. nov. can be distinguished from P. rukwae by a higher number of subcaudals (P. rukwae 70–100, exceptionnaly up to 105), from P. sibilans by major differences in mi- tochondrial haplotypes, a pale median stripe that borders the frontal (not bordering the frontal in P. sibilans) and a more uniform dorsal colouration in most specimens, from P. schokari and P. aegyptius by a lower number of subralabials (8 versus 9) and a different head pattern, and from P. sudanensis, P. phillipsi, P. occidentalis, P. mos- sambicus, P. leopardinus, P. zambiensis and P. subtae- niatus by a higher number of infralabials in contact with the anterior sublinguals (5 versus 4) and by different head and dorsal patterns. 
CommentSynonym after Trape et al. 2019. See this paper for references.

Habitat. Sahel and Sudan savanna in West Africa. Penetrates in Guinea savanna and relict populations in sahelo-saharan wetlands. 
References
  • Kwet, A. 2020. Liste der im Jahr 2019 neubeschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2020 (3): 44-67
  • Trape, Jean-François; Pierre-André Crochet, Donald G. Broadley, Patricia Sourouille, Youssouph Mané, Marius Burger, Wolfgang Böhme, Mostafa Saleh, Anna Karan, Benedetto Lanza & Oleg Mediannikov 2019. On the Psammophis sibilans group (Serpentes, Lamprophiidae, Psammophiinae) north of 12°S, with the description of a new species from West Africa. Bonn zoological Bulletin 68 (1): 61–91 - get paper here
 
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