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Sonora cincta (COPE, 1861)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymChilomeniscus cinctus COPE 1861: 303
Chilomeniscus ephippicus COPE 1867
Carphophis cincta — GARMAN 1884: 100
Chilomeniscus cinctus — CLIFF 1954
Chilomeniscus cinctus — BANTA & LEVITON 1963
Chilomeniscus ephippicus — BANTA & LEVITON 1963
Chilomeniscus cinctus — LEVITON & BANTA 1964
Chilomeniscus cinctus — JONES et al. 1981
Chilomeniscus cinctus — STEBBINS 1985: 214
Chilomeniscus cinctus — LINER 1994
Chilomeniscus cinctus — CROTHER 2000: 57
Chilomeniscus stramineus — GRISMER et al. 2002: 28
Chilomeniscus cinctus — HOLM 2008: 29
Sonora (Chilomeniscus) cincta — COX et al. 2018: 972 
DistributionUSA (S Arizona)
Mexico (N Baja California Sur, W Sonora)

Type locality: near the town of Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 24 (Museum of Comparative Zoology)
Holotype: USNM 8897 [Chilomeniscus ephippicus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Sonora cincta can be distinguished from all other Sonora except for S. fasciata and S. straminea by the presence of an elongated rostrum. Unlike S. straminea, S. cincta does not have apical maculations on dorsal body scales (Holm 2008). There are no simple morphological measurements to distinguish S. fasciata and S. cincta, but Holm (2008) presents a formula that uses a pattern of head squamation to distinguish these two taxa. Geographic range may in fact be the most reliable way to distinguish S. fasciata from S. cincta (Cox et al. 2018: 971).

Variation: There is considerable variation in Sonor cincta squamation, summarized in Holm (2008). Individuals can be either uniform or with red or orange and black or brown crossbands. Bands can take the form of complete bands that reach the ventral scales, saddles that reach the lateral dorsal surface, or dorsal spots. There is also variation in presence of a dark black cap on the head (Cox et al. 2018: 971). 
CommentDistribution: not in Sonora fide Lemos-Espinal et al. 2019 but in Sonora fide Cox et al. 2018 (map in Fig. 4). Not in Sinaloa (Lemos-Espinal & Smith 2020). 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin verb “cingere” or “cinctum” = wearing a belt. 
  • Banta, Benjamin H.;Leviton, Alan E. 1963. Remarks on the colubrid genus Chilomeniscus (Serpentes: Colubridae). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 31 (11): 309-327 - get paper here
  • Cliff, Frank S. 1954. Snakes of the islands in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Transactions of the San Diego Society of Natural History 12 (5): 67-98 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1861. Contributions to the ophiology of Lower California, Mexico and Central America. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 13: 292-306 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1892. A critical review of the characters and variations of the snakes of North America. Proc. US Natl. Mus. 14: 589-694 - get paper here
  • Cox, Christian L.; Alison R. Davis Rabosky, Iris A. Holmes, Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, Corey E. Roelke, Eric N. Smith, Oscar Flores-Villela, Jimmy A. McGuire & Jonathan A. Campbell 2018. Synopsis and taxonomic revision of three genera in the snake tribe Sonorini. Journal of Natural History 52: 945-988 - get paper here
  • Crother, B. I. 2000. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Herpetological Circular 29: 1-82
  • GRISMER, L. L., H. WONG & P. GALINA-TESSARO 2002. Geographic variation and taxonomy of the Sand Snakes, Chilomeniscus (Squamata: Colubridae). Herpetologica 58 (1): 18-31 - get paper here
  • Hoard, R.S. 1939. A new subspecies of snake of the genus Chilomeniscus. Pomona Coll. Jour. Ent. and Zool. 31 (4): 45-46
  • Holm, PA. 2008. Phylogenetic biology of the burrowing snake tribe Sonorini (Colubridae). Tucson (AZ): University of Arizona
  • Jones, K.B.; Abbas, D.R. & Bergstedt, T. 1981. Herpetological records from Central and Northeastern Arizona. Herpetological Review 12 (1): 16 - get paper here
  • Leviton, Alan E.; Banta, Benjamin H. 1964. Midwinter reconnaissance of the herpetofauna of the Cape Region of Baja California, Mexico. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 30 (7): 127-156 - get paper here
  • Liner, E.A. 1994. Scientific and common names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. Herpetological Circular 23: 1-113
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1899. Contribution a la faune herpétologique de la Basse-Californie. Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Natur.Paris, 4th Series, Vol. 1: 297-343 + plates XI-XIII - get paper here
  • Stebbins,R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
  • Van Denburgh,J. 1895. A review of the herpetology of Lower California. Part I - Reptiles. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (2) 5: 77-163 - get paper here
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