Psammophis crucifer (DAUDIN, 1803)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Psammophis crucifer?
|Higher Taxa||Psammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Cross-marked Grass Snake, Montane Grass Snake|
G: Quergebänderte Sandrenn-Natter
|Synonym||Coluber crucifer DAUDIN 1803: 189|
Psammophis crucifer — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 892
Psammophis crucifer — LOVERIDGE 1936: 39
Psammophis crucifer — FITZSIMONS & BRAIN 1958
Psammophis crucifer — BOYCOTT 1992
Psammophis crucifer — BROADLEY 2002
Taphrometopon crucifer — WALLACH et al. 2014: 694
Psammophis crucifer — BATES et al. 2014: 375
|Distribution||Republic of South Africa, E Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique (Chimanimani Mountains)|
Type locality: "Indes orientales."
|Types||Holotype: unlocated, a 236 mm specimen.|
|Diagnosis||Description.—(80 specimens examined) Nostril pierced between 2 nasals; preocular 1, widely separated from frontal; postoculars 2 (very rarely 3); temporals basically 2+2+3, but with frequent fusions; supralabials 8 (rarely 7 or 9), the fourth & fifth (rarely third & fourth or fifth & sixth) entering orbit; infralabials 9 (rarely 10), the first 4 (rarely ) in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 1-1-13 rows; ventrals 134-16; cloacal shield divided; subcaudals 68-91. TM 22369, an aberrant female from the Nyanga highlands, Zimbabwe, has only 117 ventrals and 47 subcaudals. Head grey, with a dark red-brown black-edged stripe extending from the snout, dividing on the frontal and again on the parietals, in each case enclosing a grey centre, continuing on the body as a black-bordered three scale wide dorsal stripe, this is separated by a thin white line from a grey dorsolateral stripe on scale rows 4, and 6. A dark grey-brown lateral stripe covers scale rows 2 and 3 and the upper half of the outer row, the lower half being white. Pre- and post-oculars white, supralabials, chin and throat white, blotched or speckled with black. Ventrum orange with a broken black lateral line. South African specimens usually have one or two dark crossbars intersecting the vertebral stripe on the nape to form the “cross” from which the species derives its name, these crossbars are missing in specimens from Zimbabwe and KwaZulu-Natal. Some South African specimens are uniform grey above and pinkish white below [from BROADLEY 2002].|
|Comment||Characterized by a cross-shaped marking on the head. Seldom exceeds 2 feet in length; egg-laying; diet mainly of small lizards; apparently preyed upon by other snakes and birds of prey.|
Habitat: Fynbos and grassland from sea level to montane grassland at 2300 m in South Africa, montane grassland in Zimbabwe.