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Psammophis ansorgii BOULENGER, 1905

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ansorge’s Sand Snake, Link-marked Sand Racer 
SynonymPsammophis ansorgii BOULENGER 1905: 113
Psammophis ansorgii — DE WITTE 1933
Psammophis jallae — LOVERIDGE 1940: 6, 63 (part.)
Psammophis ansorgii — HELLMICH 1957: 69
Psammophis ansorgii — BROADLEY 1977: 13
Psammophis ansorgii — BROADLEY 2002: 98
Psammophis ansorgii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 576
Psammophis ansorgii — BRANCH et al. 2019 
DistributionAngola (central highlands, elevation up to 2286 m)

Type locality: Benguela to Bihe, Angola. Restricted to between Chinguar (12°33'S,16°20'E, elevation 1812 m a.s.l.) and Cunhangamua River (12°56'S,15°44'E, elevation 1600 m a.s.l.), Bié Province, Angola, by Branch et al. 2019: 358.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.8.49, a 700 mm male (W.J. Ansorge, end of 1904). 
DiagnosisDescription: (Type data, additional data from Hellmich 1957) Nostril pierced between 2 or nasals; preocular 1, usually separated from frontal; postoculars 2; temporals usually 2+2+; supralabials 7, the third & fourth entering orbit; infralabials 9, the first 4 in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 15- 15-1 rows; ventrals 15-160; cloacal shield divided; subcaudals 70-78. Dorsum uniform light grey-brown, pre- And post-oculars yellow, a black-edged yellow stripe on supralabials. Ventrum uniform yellowish- white [from BROADLEY 2002].

Description. A medium-sized sand snake (maximum 75cm). Nostril pierced between 2 or 3 nasals; preocular 1, usually separated from frontal; postoculars 2; temporals usually 2+2+3 (sometimes 2+1); supralabials 7, the third & fourth entering orbit (sometimes 2–3 or 2–4); infralabials 8–9, the first 4 in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 15-15-13 (sometime 15-15-11) rows; ventrals 152–161; cloacal shield divided; subcaudals 70–78. Dorsum grey-brown to reddish brown, usually uniform but sometimes with a fine ‘ladder’ pattern on the forebody due to black-edged dorsal scales. Head uniform grey-brown on crown, but with characteristic ivory-coloured pre- and post-oculars and a black-edged ivory-cream stripe on supralabials. Ventrum unpatterned with a white-edged yellowish centre, and brighter yellow below tail. Scalation details of specimen are summarized in Branch et al. 2019: 352 (Table 3). Size: Maximum size: 555 + 195 = 750 mm (Hellmich 1957—Bela-Vista, Angola). (from Branch et al. 2019: 358). 
CommentHabitat: Montane grassland at 1800 m. 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. William John Ansorge (1850-1913), an explorer, collector, and writer in Africa who wrote Under the Aftican Sun (1899). 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1905. A list of the batrachians and reptiles collected by Dr. W. J. Ansorge in Angola with descriptions of new species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (7) 16: 105-115 - get paper here
  • BRANCH, WILLIAM R.; NINDA BAPTISTA, CHAD KEATES, SHELLEY EDWARDS 2019. Rediscovery, taxonomic status, and phylogenetic relationships of two rare and endemic snakes (Serpentes: Psammophiinae) from the southwestern Angolan plateau. Zootaxa 4590 (3): 342–366 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 2002. A review of the species of Psammophis Boie found south of Latitude 12° S (Serpentes: Psammophiinae). African Journal of Herpetology 51 (2): 83-119 - 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)
  • 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.
  • Witte, G. F. de 1933. Reptiles récoltés au Conge Belge par le Dr. H. Schouteden et par M. G.-F. Witte. Ann. Mus. Conge belge Zool. Ser. 1 Tome III: 53-100.
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