Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps (COPE, 1860)
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps?
|Higher Taxa||Colubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)|
|Common Names||E: Vermiculate Graceful Brown Snake|
|Synonym||Taeniophis vermiculaticeps COPE 1860: 249|
Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps — COPE 1863: 101
Enicognathus taeniolatus JAN 1863 (part., see comment)
Enicognathus taeniolatus — JAN 1866
Liophis vermimaculaticeps — AMARAL 1929: 175 (in error)
Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps — TAYLOR 1951: 116
Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 268
Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps — VILLA et al. 1988
Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps — WALLACH et al. 2014: 642
Type locality: New Granada (Colombia), Cocuyas de
|Types||Syntypes: ANSP 3534-35, 3741 (3)|
|Diagnosis||DEFINITION: Snakes allied to Taeniophis vermiculaticeps Cope; scales smooth, pitless, usually the same number throughout body, but reducing in two Colombian species, usually 17, rarely 19 or 21; maxillary dentition with slight gap posteriorly, followed by two slightly enlarged ungrooved fangs; hemipenis unforked, with basal hooks and calyculate and capitate tip; body color uniform or striped (Dunn 1944: 490).|
REMARKS: I regard this genus, with its similarly striped body and grooved tooth ally Coniophanes, and its ringed ally Pliocercus, all of which enter the Andean region of South America, as of northern origin and quite distinct from the southern genera with which they have been confused (Liophis with Rhadinaea; Erythrolamprus with Coniophanes) (Dunn 1944: 491).
DIAGNOSIS: Specimens of Rhadinaea vermiculaticeps are easily recognized by the combination of a pale reticulum on the head and a broad (three scale rows) middorsal black stripe that is broken along the middle by a pale line. The related R. sargenti may have a weak indication of the dorsal stripe but the sides and ventral tips are uniformly dark, whereas vermiculaticeps has lighter sides with a dark line and the ends of the ventrals have dark dots (Myers 1974: 163).
Coloration: The ground color of the body is light brown. A brown stripe passes along the side of the head and onto the neck, where it is narrowed to a blackish line that extends the length of the body on adjacent parts of scale rows 4 and 5. This line tends to be somewhat blurred along its lower edge. A broad, blackish middorsal stripe on the median three scale rows is broken along the middle by a whitish line, which either covers all of the vertebral row or only its midline. (Because of the pale line, the middorsal pattern could as well be described as a pair of dark paravertebral stripes.) The lateral and dorsal stripes extend nearly to the end of the tail; the pale vertebral line disappears gradually on the tail. The top of the head is brown, with a conspicuous black-edged, whitish reticulum from the eyes back. The posterior parts of this reticulum merge on the nape, thus forming the pale vertebral line that extends to the tail. A narrow, black-edged whitish stripe extends from the canthus rostralis (where it is faint) through the top of the eye and passes to the neck, where it blends into the brown of the body. The supralabials and infralabials are dotted with black and also may tend to have black sutures. The venter is white. There is a conspicuous dark dot near the rear margin of each ventral tip, changing to a dark line along the ends of the subcaudals. Two specimens from El Valle have an additional amount of dark speckling along the sides of the belly and over the subcaudal surfaces (Myers 1974: 165).
|Comment||Type species: Taeniophis vermiculaticeps COPE 1860 is the type species of the genus Rhadinaea COPE 1863.|
Synonymy that of PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970. Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic names Alexteesus Hoser 2012, Barrygoldsmithus Hoser 2012, Desmondburkeus Hoser 2012, Dudleyserpens Hoser 2012, Jockpaullus Hoser 2012, Robvalenticus Hoser 2012, Wallisserpens Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected their use instead of Rhadinaea.
MYERS (1974: 202) and DI-BERNARDO (1992: 233) synonymized the type of Enicognathus taeniolatus with Rhadinea brevirostris (PETER, 1863), DIXON (1980: 16) took E. taeniolatus JAN in incerta sedis melanostigma WAGLER, 1824. But these authors did not examine the holotype. According to DI-BERNARDO, after he has seen a photo of the type (pers. comm., 1997) the holotype is most similar to Rhadinea vermiculaticeps (COPE, 1860) or R. sargenti DUNN & BAILEY, 1939 from Costa Rica or Panama (from Hallermann 1998). Wallach et al. 2014 list Enicognathus taeniolatus as synonym of Taeniophallus brevirostris.
Distribution: JAN 1866 also states that Enicognathus taeniolatus is from “Brésil” [= Brazil].
|Etymology||The name translates as "rhadine," which along with the Latin generic forming suffix -a(ea), means slender or graceful (LEMOS-ESPINAL & DIXON 2013).|
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