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Tantilla triseriata SMITH & SMITH, 1951

IUCN Red List - Tantilla triseriata - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Three-lined Centipede Snake
S: Lagartijerita Tres Líneas 
SynonymTantilla triseriata SMITH & SMITH 1951
Tantilla taeniata triseriata — SMITH & SMITH 1976
Tantilla taeniata triseriata — LINER 1994
Tantilla triseriata — SMITH, CHISZAR & BREUKELEN 1998
Tantilla triseriata — WILSON 1999
Tantilla triseriata — WILSON & MATA-SILVA 2014: 59
Tantilla triseriata — WALLACH et al. 2014: 707 
DistributionSE Mexico (Oaxaca)

Elevation: 914 m (WILSON & MATA-SILVA 2014)

Type locality: Mexico: Coatlan, Oaxaca.  
TypesHolotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 20198; T. MacDougall; October 9, 1949. 
DiagnosisIdentification: A diminutive brown snake with pale middorsal and lateral stripes not edged with dark pigment; middorsal stripe confined to vertebral scale row anteriorly, expanding onto adjacent portions of paravertebral rows posteriorly; lateral stripes occupying adjacent halves of rows 3 and 4; scales of first dorsal scale row unpigmented on anterior half or more of body; pale nuchal collar complete; no loreal; dorsals in 15 rows; subcaudals 60 or more (Heimes 2016: 188).

Description: Tantilla triseriata has three light yellow stripes on a chestnut brown dorsum. The middorsal stripe extends the length of the body, beginning about two scales behind the nuchal collar and continuing almost to the tip of the tail. It occupies all of the vertebral scale row on the anterior third of the body, expanding onto the adjacent halves of the paravertebral rows posteriorly. The lateral stripes extend the length ofthe body, occupying the adjacent halves of rows 3 and 4, and continue almost to the tip of the tail. The first dorsal scale row is unpigmented on the anterior half or more of the body. The head pattern consists of a light yellow nuchal collar which is about two scale lengths wide dorsally, passing through the posterior tips of the parietals and the posterior portion of the 7th supralabial. The remainder of the head is chestnut brown except for a light yellow spot on the snout and light yellow preand postocular spots, the latter two reaching the lip margin. The ventral surface is light yellow and immaculate except for a few dark spots on the infralabials (Heimes 2016: 188).

Scalation: There are 7 supralabials, 6 infralabials, 1 preocular, 2 postoculars, 1+1 temporals, 163-165 ventrals and 61-63 divided subcaudals (in females) (Heimes 2016: 188). 
CommentTantilla triseriata usually has been considered as a synonym or subspecies of T. taeniata (see this entry). 
EtymologyThe name triseriata is derived from the Latin words tres, meaning “three,” series, meaning “row,” and “-atus, meaning “provided with,” in reference to the three pale stripes on the dorsum of the body. 
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Mata-Silva, Vicente, Jerry D. Johnson, Larry David Wilson and Elí García-Padilla. 2015. The herpetofauna of Oaxaca, Mexico: composition, physiographic distribution, and conservation status. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (1): 6–62 - get paper here
  • Smith, H.M. & Smith, P.W. 1951. A new snake (Tantilla) from the Isthmus of Tuhuantepec, Oaxaca. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 64: 97-100 - get paper here
  • Smith, H.M.; CHISZAR,D. & BREUKELEN,F. v. 1998. Resurrection of Tantilla triseriata (Reptilia: Serpentes) of Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 43 (3): 374-375 - get paper here
  • Townsend, Josiah H.; Larry David Wilson, Melissa Medina-Flores, and Luis A. Herrera-B. 2013. A New Species of Centipede Snake in the Tantilla taeniata Group (Squamata: Colubridae) from Premontane Rainforest in Refugio De Vida Silvestre Texíguat, Honduras. Journal of Herpetology Mar 2013, Vol. 47, No. 1: 191-200. - 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.
  • Wilson, L.D. 1999. Checklist and key to the species of the genus Tantilla (Serpentes: Colubridae), with some commentary on distribution. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (122): 1-34 - get paper here
  • Wilson, Larry David and Vicente Mata-Silva 2015. A checklist and key to the snakes of the Tantilla clade (Squamata: Colubridae), with comments on distribution and conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (4): 418 - get paper here
  • Wilson, Larry David and Vicente Mata-Silva. 2014. Snakes of the genus Tantilla (Squamata: Colubridae) in Mexico: taxonomy, distribution, and Conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (1): 5-95 - get paper here
  • Wilson,L.D. & McCranie,J.R. 1999. The systematic status of Honduran populations of the Tantilla taeniata group (Serpentes: Colubridae), with notes on other populations. Amphibia-Reptilia 20 (3): 326-329 - get paper here
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