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Symphimus mayae (GAIGE, 1936)

IUCN Red List - Symphimus mayae - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Yucatán White-lipped Snake
S: Culebra Labio-blanco Yucateca 
SynonymEurypholis mayae GAIGE 1936: 300
Entechinus mayae — SCHMIDT & ANDREWS 1936
Opheodrys mayae — SMITH 1942: 457
Symphimus mayae — LINER 1994
Symphimus mayae — STAFFORD 2005
Symphimus mayae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 692 
DistributionMexico (Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche), N Belize, Guatemala

Type locality: Dzitas, Yucatan.  
TypesHolotype: UMMZ 73082 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “Loreal present; a single elongate nasal; 6 upper labials; anal plate
divided; 123 subcaudals.” (Gaige 1936: 300). 
CommentBehavior: diurnal.

Habitat: Symphimus mayae appears to be both terrestrial and (semi-) arboreal. In northern Yucatán the species is an inhabitant of xerophytic thorn forest and, along the eastern side of the peninsula, more mesic habitats, while in Belize it
occurs in oak hammocks within dry lowland savannas and probably semi-evergreen seasonal forest.

Sexual dimorphism is evident although males and females attain similar adult body sizes.

Diet: Symphimus mayae feeds almost exclusively on orthopteroid insects, principally katydids (Tettigoniidae) and crickets (Gryllidae). These taxa jointly
accounted for >50% of the total number of prey items recovered from stomachs and had been eaten by >70% of the snakes examined, with little intraspecific or seasonal variation. 
EtymologyNamed after the Maya, an indigenous people of the Yucatan Peninsula. 
  • Aguilar-López JL, Luría-Manzano R, Pineda E, Canseco-Márquez L 2021. Selva Zoque, Mexico: an important Mesoamerican tropical region for reptile species diversity and conservation. ZooKeys 1054: 127-153 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Calderon, R.; Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R. & Pozo, C. 2003. New distributional records for amphibians and reptiles from Campeche, Mexico. Herpetological Review 34 (3): 269-272 - get paper here
  • Campbell, J.A. 1998. Amphibians and reptiles of northern Guatemala, the Yucatán, and Belize. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, xiii + 380 pp. - get paper here
  • Colston, Timothy J.; José António L. Barão-Nóbrega, Ryan Manders, Alice Lett, Jamie Wilmott, Gavin Cameron, Sidony Hunter, Adam Radage, Etienne Littlefair, Robert J. Williams, Antonio Lopez Cen, Kathy Slater 2015. Amphibians and reptiles of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, México, with new records. Check List 11 (5): 1759 - get paper here
  • Gaige,H. 1936. Some reptiles and amphibians from Yucatan and Campeche, Mexico. Carnegie Inst. Wash. Publ., (457): 289-304.
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Lee, J. C. 2000. A field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the Maya world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
  • Lee, J.C. 1996. The amphibians and reptiles of the Yucatán Peninsula. Comstock, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 500 pp.
  • Nahuat-Cervera, Pedro Enrique 2020. Amphibians and reptiles of the Hobonil Educative Center, Tzucacab, Yucatán, Mexico. Rev. Latinoamer. Herp. 3 (1): 53-65 - get paper here
  • Rossman, D. A., & SCHAEFFER, G. C. 1974. Generic status of Opheodrys mayae, a colubrid snake endemic to the Yucatán Peninsula. Occ. Pap. Mus. Zool. Louisiana State Univ. No. 45, 12 pp. - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1943. Summary of the collections of snakes and crocodilians made in Mexico under the Walter Rathbone Bacon Traveling Scholarship. Proceeding of the U. S. National Museum, 93 (3169): 393-504 - get paper here
  • Stafford, P.J. 2005. Diet and reproductive ecology of the Yucatán cricket-eating snake Symphimus mayae (Colubridae). Journal of Zoology 265: 301–310 - 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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