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Psammophis rukwae BROADLEY, 1966

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
SubspeciesPsammophis rukwae leucogaster SPAWLS 1983
Psammophis rukwae rukwae BROADLEY 1966 
Common NamesRukwa Sand Racer, Rukwa Whip Snake
F: Psammophis du Rukwa
G: Rukwa-Sandrennnatter 
SynonymPsammophis sibilans rukwae BROADLEY 1966: 3
Psammophis subtaeniatus — LOVERIDGE 1933: 254 (part) (not PETERS)
Psammophis subtaeniatus sudanensis VESEY-FITZGERALD 1958: 62 (not WERNER)
Psammophis subtaeniatus sudanensis — ROBERTSON et al., 1962: 428
Psammophis rukwae rukwae — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 28
Psammophis rukwae —CADLE 1994: 119
Psammophis rukwae —BRANDSTÄTTER 1995: 151
Psammophis rukwae —SPAWLS et al. 2002: 406
Psammophis rukwae — CHIRIO 2009
Psammophis rukwae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 579
Psammophis cf. rukwae — SOW et al. 2017
Psammophis rukwae — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 436
Psammophis rukwae — TRAPE et al. 2019: 66

Psammophis rukwae leucogaster SPAWLS 1983
Psammophis leucogaster SPAWLS 1983
Psammophis rukwae leucogaster — BÖHME 1986
Psammophis sudanensis leucogaster — TRAPE & MANÉ 2006: 156
Psammophis leucogaster — ULLENBRUCH et al. 2010 
DistributionSenegal, Cameroon, Algeria, Tanzania (“extending west to Senegal” fide BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991), Ghana, Gambia, Benin ?, Niger ?, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Sudan (Jumhūriyyat)

Type locality: Kafukola, Rukwa Valley, Tanzania.

leucogaster: Senegal, Burkina Faso, S Niger, N Nigeria, N Cameroon, Chad (fide TRAPE & MANÉ 2006). Type locality: Wa, northern Ghana (10° 03' N, 2° 29' W).  
TypesHolotype: NMZB (also as NMSR) 4212 (Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo); Paratype: ZFMK 31803 (ex-NMSR 5460)
Holotype: BMNH 1980: 261 [leucogaster] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (leucogaster): A small Psammophis, differing from other known members of the genus by possession of the following combination of characters: 7 Supralabials, 17 midbody scale rows, a single anterior temporal scale, an entire anal scale and an unmarked (uniformly white) ventral surface. 
CommentSynonymy: Mostly after Trape et al. 2019. Some earlier reports subsumed this species under P. sibilans.

Distribution: Some of the earlier Malian records of P. sibilans may be Psammophis rukwae leucogaster (Joger & Lambert 1996). Not listed by SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996. Not in Benin fide Hughes 2013 who also mentions some long-lasting confusion with P. sibilans (B. Hughes, pers. comm. 9 Dec 2013). Not in Niger fide Trape & Mané 2015. Not in Mali fide Trape & Mané 2017.

Subspecies: The type of P. leucogaster from Ghana appears to be a highly aberrant specimen of P. sudanensis, hence Trape et al. 2019 listed leucogaster as synonym of P. sudanensis. Populations from Chad are probably similar genetically to those in Kordofan, the type locality, which is close geographically and ecologically (Trape et al. 2019).
EtymologyNamed after the type locality.

(leucogaster): The species is named in respect of its uniformly white ventral surface. 
  • Barnett, Linda K. & Emms, Craig 2005. Common reptiles of The Gambia. Rare Repro, Hailsham, East Sussex, 24 pp.
  • Böhme, Wolfgang 2014. Herpetology in Bonn. Mertensiella 21. vi + 256 pp. - get paper here
  • Böhme,W. 1986. Preliminary note on the taxonomic status of Psammophis leucogaster Spawls 1983. Litteratura Serpentium 6 (5): 171-180
  • Broadley, D. G. & HOWELL, K. M. 1991. A check list of the reptiles of Tanzania, with synoptic keys. Syntarsus 1: 1—70
  • Broadley, D.G. 1966. A review of the African stripe-bellied sand snakes of the genus Psammophis. Arnoldia (Rhodesia) 2 (36): 1-9
  • Broadley, D.G. 1993. Geographical Distribution - Psammophis rukwae rukwae. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (42): 42-42 - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. 2009. Inventaire des reptiles de la région de la Réserve de Biosphère Transfrontalière du W (Niger/Bénin/Burkina Faso: Afrique de l’Ouest). [Herpetological survey of the W Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve area (Niger/Benin/Burkina Faso: West Africa]. Bull. Soc. Herp. France (132): 13-41 - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Leaché, Adam D.; Mark-Oliver Rödel, Charles W. Linkem, Raul E. Diaz, Annika Hillers, and Matthew K. Fujita 2006. Biodiversity in a forest island: reptiles and amphibians of the Togo Hills, Kyabobo National Park, Ghana. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 4 (1): 22-45 - get paper here
  • Sow, Andack Saad; Duarte Vasconcelos Gonçalves, Fábio Vieira Sousa, Fernando Martínez- Freiría, Frederico Santarém, Guillermo Velo-Antón, Hamidou Dieng, João Carlos Campos, Saer Khayar Diagne, Zbyszek Boratyński, José Carlos Brito 2017. Atlas of the distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the Diawling National Park, Mauritania. Basic and Applied Herpetology - get paper here
  • Spawls, S. 1983. A new Psammophis from Northern Ghana. British Journal of Herpetology 6: 311-312
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Trape, J.-F. & Mané, Y. 2006. Guide des serpents d’Afrique occidentale. Savane et désert. [Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger]. IRD Editions, Paris, 226 pp. - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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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