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Psammophylax rhombeatus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaPsammophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Spotted Grass Snake, Spotted Skaapsteker, Rhombic Skaapsteker
G: Gefleckter Shaapsteker, Rhomben-Skaapsteker 
Synonym?Coluber rhombeatus LINNAEUS 1758: 220
? Dipsas rhombeatus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1154
Psammophylax ocellatus BOCAGE 1873 (fide FITZSIMONS 1966)
Psammophylax rhombeatus — FISCHER 1881: 228
Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus — BOCAGE 1895
Trimerorhinus rhombeatus — BOULENGER 1896: 138
Psammophis longementalis ROUX 1907: 736
Trimerorhinus rhombeatus — HEWITT 1925
Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus — BROADLEY 1977
Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus — BOYCOTT 1992
Psammophylax rhombeatus — MATTISON 1995: 225
Psammophylax rhombeatus — MATTISON 2007: 249
Psammophylax rhombeatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 593
Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus — BATES et al. 2014: 381
Psammophylax rhombeatus ocellatus — MARQUES et al. 2018
Psammophylax ocellatus — BRANCH et al. 2019: 324
Psammophylax ocellatus — BRANCH et al. 2019 
DistributionS Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, SW Angola

Type locality: "in Indiis," (in error). Corrected to South Africa by FitzSimons, 1962: 210. Restricted to southwestern Cape of Good Hope Province, South Africa by Broadley, 1977a: 17.

ocellatus: Angola; Type locality: “l’intérieur de Mossamedes (Gambos)” [= Gambos], Huíla Province, Angola.  
TypesSyntypes: NRM (= NHRM) (orig. in MAFR). 600 mm and 405 mm (SVL) specimens.
Holotype: MB (Museu Bocage) specimen number unknown (collector J.A. d’Anchieta), specimen lost fide Broadley (1977c) [ocellatus] 
CommentType species: Coluber rhombeatus LINNAEUS 1758: 220 is the type species of the genus Psammophylax FITZINGER 1843.

The sharply pointed snouts of P. acutus and P. togoensis distinguish them from all other members of the genus (Marais, 2004; Segniagbeto & Ohler, 2011; Spawls et al., 2002), and this feature was responsible for their former inclusion in the genus Rhamphiophis (beaked snakes).

Synonymy: see BRANCH et al. 2019 for a nomenclatural history of Psammophylax (rhombeatus) ocellatus. 
  • Bates, M. F. 1985. Notes on Egg Clutches in Lamprophis inornatus and Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (31): 21-22 - 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, 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. - get paper here
  • Bocage, J.V.B. 1873. Melanges erpetologiques. II. Sur quelques reptiles et batraciens nouveaux, rares ou peu connus d‘Afrique occidentale. Jorn. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat. Lisboa 4: 209-227 - get paper here
  • Boycott, R.C. 1992. An Annotated Checklist of the Amphibians and Reptiles of Swaziland. The Conservation Trust of Swaziland - 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.; 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. 1977. A revision of the African Snakes of the Genus Psammophylax Fitzinger (Colubridae). Occ. Pap. natl. Mus. Rhod. 1976 B6 (1): 1-44.
  • 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; Brain Reeves, Sandile Mdoko, Lwandiso Pamla, Oyama Gxabhu 2020. Herpetological survey of the Ongeluksnek (Malekgalonyane) Nature Reserve on the foothills of the Drakensberg, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Herpetology Notes 13: 717-730 - 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
  • COTTONE, A.M. & BAUER, A.M. 2008. Psammophylax r. rhombeatus (Linnaeus, 1754). Behaviour. African Herp News (44): 20 - get paper here
  • COTTONE, A.M. & BAUER, A.M. 2008. Psammophy/ax rhombeatus (Linnaeus, 1754) and Psammophis spp. Tail autotomy. African Herp News (44): 18 - get paper here
  • Cottone, Amanda M. and Aaron M. Bauer 2013. The Vernal Spatial Ecology and Mating Behaviors of the Rhombic Skaapsteker, Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus (Serpentes: Psammophiidae), from the Western Cape, South Africa. Copeia Jul 2013, Vol. 2013, No. 2: 194-200. - get paper here
  • Creighton, D.; Haagner, G. 1986. Life History Note: Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus: Reproduction. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (32): 35-35 - get paper here
  • Daan, S. & Hillenius,D. 1966. Catalogue of the type specimens of amphibians and reptiles in the Zoological Museum, Amsterdam. Beaufortia 13: 117-144
  • Duméril, A. M. C., Bibron, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
  • Fischer, J. G. 1881. Herpetologische Bemerkungen vorzugsweise über Stücke des Naturhistorischen Museums in Bremen. Abhandlungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins in Bremen, 7: 225-238 [Nov. 1881]
  • Fraser M. 2023. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 13: 162–185. 14 March 2023 - get paper here
  • Hall, R.J.; Haagner, G.V.; Branch, W.R. 1994. Life History Notes - Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus. African Herp News (21): 20-21 - 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
  • Keates, C, Conradie, W, Greenbaum, E, Edwards, S. 2019. A Snake in the grass: Genetic structuring of the widespread African grass snake (Psammophylax Fitzinger 1843), with the description of a new genus and a new species. J Zool Syst Evol Res. 57: 1039– 1066 - get paper here
  • Knox, Andrew and Kate Jackson 2010. Ecological and phylogenetic influences on maxillary dentition in snakes. Phyllomedusa 9 (2): 121-131 - get paper here
  • Linnaeus, C. [= Linné, C. von] 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - 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)
  • MASTERSON, G.F. & MACKAY, D. 2008. Psammophylax r. rhombeatus (Linnaeus, 1754). Reproduction. African Herp News (44): 16 - get paper here
  • Mattison, Chris 1995. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. New York: Facts on File, 256 pp.
  • Mattison, Chris 2007. The New Encyclopedia of Snakes. Princeton University Press
  • Roux,J. 1907. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Fauna von Süd-Afrika. VIII. Ophidia. Zool. Jahrb., Abt. Syst., Geogr. Biol. Tiere (Jena), 25: 732-741 - get paper here
  • Steehouder, A.M. 1987. Some experiences with the Spotted skaapsteker Psammophylax rhombeatus. Litteratura Serpentium 7 (4): 175-184 - 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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