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Psammophis notostictus PETERS, 1867

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Karoo Sand Snake Or Whip Snake 
SynonymPsammophis moniliger var. notostictus PETERS 1867: 237
Psammophis notostictus MATSCHIE — STERNFELD 1910: 56
Psammophis notostictus — FITZSIMONS & BRAIN 1958
Psammophis notostictus — AUERBACH 1987: 166
Psammophis notostictus — BAUER et al. 1995: 73
Psammophis notostictus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 577
Psammophis notostictus — SCHLEICHER 2020
Psammophis notosticus — LOBÓN-ROVIRA et al. 2022 (in error) 
DistributionNamibia, S Angola, Republic of South Africa (Cape, S OFS), Botswana

Type locality: Otjimbingue, Namibia [by implication]  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 5756 (2 specimens) 
DiagnosisDescription. (237 specimens examined). Nostril pierced between 3 nasals, the upper posterior with a posterior prolongation; preoculars 2 (rarely 1), usually in contact with frontal; postoculars 2 (very rarely 3); temporals basically 2+2+3, but with frequent fusions; supralabials 8 (very rarely 7 or 9), the fourth & fifth (rarely third & fourth) entering orbit; infralabials 9-12 (usually 10), the first 4 (rarely 3 or 5) in contact with anterior sublinguals; dorsal scales in 17-17-13 rows; ventrals 155- 183; cloacal shield entire; subcaudals 76-107. Brandstätter (1995, Fig. 54, 55) has published SEM micrographs of a dorsal scale from NMZB 5483 from the Eastern Cape Province. Light grey to dark brown above, often paler laterally, uniform or with a pale stripe or series of spots on the vertebral scale row and a pale stripe on row 4, these stripes may be bordered by black flecks. The head shields may have pale margins, with a pair of pale blotches on the parietals. A white ventrolateral stripe covers the lower half of the outer scale row and ends of the ventrals, extending forward onto the labials, pre- and post-oculars. Chin and throat white with grey or black spots and streaks. Venter yellowish, more or less infuscated with grey and with a grey line bordering the white ventrolateral stripe [from BROADLEY 2002]. 
CommentAn active slender snake.

Size: maximum of 3 feet in length (1 m).

Diet: Feeds mainly on lizards; egg-laying.

Distribution: see map in BROADLEY 2002: 88 (Fig. 2). 
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • BATES, M.F. 2010. Psammophis notostictus (Peters 1867) Diet. African Herp News (52): 11-13 - get paper here
  • 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.
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Branch, William R. & Haacke, Wulf D. 1993. The herpetofauna of the Kamanjab area and adjacent Damaraland, Namibia. Madoqua (Windhoek) 18 (2): 117-145.
  • Branch, W.R. 1992. Life History Notes - Psammophis notostictus. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (41): 43-43 - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Branch, William R. 1994. Herpetofauna of the Sperrgebeit [sic] Region of Southern Namibia. Herpetological Natural History 2 (1): 1-11.
  • Broadley, D. & Blaylock 2013. The Snakes of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 387 pp. [book review in Sauria 35 (2): 59 and Copeia 2014: 388] - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1975. A review of Psammophis leightoni and Psammophis notosticus in southem Africa (Serpentes: Colubridae). Arnoldia 7 (13): 1-17
  • 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
  • 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
  • Conradie, Werner; Brian Reeves , Neil Brown, & Jan A. Venter 2016. Herpetofauna of the Oviston, Commando Drift and Tsolwana nature reserves in the arid interior of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Indago 32: 81-98 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F.M. 1974. A field guide to the snakes of Southern Africa. 2nd edition. COLLINS, 221 pp. [first ed. 1970]
  • Fitzsimons, V.F.M.; Brain, C.K. 1958. A Short account of the Reptiles of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. Koedoe, 1(1): 99-104 - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Lobón-Rovira J, Vaz Pinto P, S. Becker F, Tolley KA, Measey J, Bennet B, Boon B, de Sá S, Conradie W 2022. An updated herpetofaunal species inventory of Iona National Park in southwestern Angola. Check List 18(2): 289-321 - 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)
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1867. Über eine Sammlung von Flederthieren und Amphibien aus Otjimbingue in Südwestafrica, welche Hr. Missionär Hahn dem zoologischen Museum zugesandt hat. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1867 (April): 234-237 - get paper here
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2015. Reptilien Namibias. Namibia Scientific  Society, 276 pp.
  • Schleicher, Alfred 2020. Reptiles of Namibia. Kuiseb Publishers, Windhoek, Namibia, 271 pp.
  • Shine, Richard; William R. Branch, Jonathan K. Webb, Peter S. Harlow, and Terri Shine 2006. Sexual Dimorphism, Reproductive Biology, and Dietary Habits of Psammophiine Snakes (Colubridae) from Southern Africa. Copeia 2006 (4): 650-664 - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1910. Zur Schlangenfauna Deutsch-Südwestafrikas. Mehrere Fälle von Mimikry bei afrikanischen Schlangen. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin, 5: 51-60 - 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.
  • 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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