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Telescopus nigriceps (AHL, 1924)

IUCN Red List - Telescopus nigriceps - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Black headed snake 
SynonymTarbophis nigriceps AHL 1924: 246
Tarbophis nigriceps — SCHMIDT 1939
Telescopus fallax nigriceps — LEVITON et al. 1992
Telescopus nigriceps — MARTENS 1993
Telescopus nigriceps — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Telescopus nigriceps — WALLACH et al. 2014: 712
Telescopus nicriceps — BEYHAGHI 2016 (in error) 
DistributionJordan (Werner 1988), C Iraq (Leviton et al. 1992), Syria (Martens 1993), Turkey (Kilis and Sanliurfa provinces; Göçmen et al. 2007), Iran

Type locality: central Mesopotamia  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 23787 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Head black; body scales in 19 longitudinal rows; 9 upper
labials; 10 lower labials; ventrals 187; subcaudals 55; 18 dark bands on
dorsum. (Leviton et al. 1992) 
CommentPhylogenetics: T. nigriceps and T. hoogstraali are paraphyletic with respect to T. fallax (s.l.). The T. fallax group is thus in need of revision (SMID et al. 2019).

Distribution: For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Venomous, but usually not dangerous to humans. 
  • Ahl, E. 1924. Neue Reptilien und Batrachier aus dem zoologischen Museum Berlin. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 90 (A) 5: 246-254
  • Al-Quran, S. 2009. The Herpetofauna of the Southern Jordan. American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 6 (4): 385-391 [this journal has a dubious record, see]
  • Beyhaghi, Parham. 2016. Geographic Distribution: Telescopus nicriceps (Black-headed Cat Snake). Herpetological Review 47 (1): 84 - get paper here
  • Disi, A.M.; Modry, D.; Necas, P. & Rifai, L. 2001. Amphibians and reptiles of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 408 pp.
  • Göçmen, B., Nilson, G., Yildiz, M.Z., Arikan, H., Yalçinkaya, D. & Akman, B. 2007. On the Occurrence of the Black Cat Snake, Telescopus nigriceps (Ahl, 1924) (Serpentes: Colubridae) from the Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey with some taxonomical comments. North-Western Journal of Zoology 3 (2):81-95 - get paper here
  • Ilgaz, Çetin, Aziz Avci, Yusuf Kumlutas, Ibrahim Baran and Adem Özdemir. 2007. New locality records extended the distribution of Telescopus nigriceps (Ahl, 1924), Black Headed Cat Snake, in southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Russ. J. Herpetol. 14 (3):207-210 - get paper here
  • Kamali, Kamran 2020. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Iran. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany ( 574 pp.
  • Leviton,A.E.; Anderson,S.C.; Adler, K.; Minton,S.A. 1992. Handbook to Middle East Amphibians and Reptiles. SSAR, Oxford, Ohio (Contr. to Herpetol. No. 8), 1-252
  • Martens, H. 1993. Three species of snake new for Syria. Zoology in the Middle East 9: 49-58 - get paper here
  • Modrý, P., Rifai, L., Abu Baker, M. & Amr, Z. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Denisia 14 (Neue Serie 2): 407-420 - get paper here
  • Nilson, Göran and Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani 2013. The occurence of Telescopus nigriceps (Ahl, 1924) in western Iran, with comments on the genus Telescopus (Serpentes: Colubridae). Zoology in the Middle East 59 (2): 131-135 - get paper here
  • Rajabizadeh, M. 2018. Snakes of Iran. [in Farsi] Tehran: Iranshenasi, 496 pp. [2017 ?] - get paper here
  • Schmidt,K.P. 1939. Reptiles and amphibians from Southwestern Asia. Publ. Field Mus. nat. Hist., zool. Ser., 24: 49-92 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R.; Alberto Venchi & Cristina Grieco 2013. The Reptiles of the Western Palearctic, Volume 2: Annotated Checklist and Distributional Atlas of the Snakes of Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, with an Update to Volume 1. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 543 pp. - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R.; Serra, G. & Menegon, M. 2006. New data on the Syrian herpetofauna with a newly-recorded species of snake. Zoology of the Middle-East 37: 29-38 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, Roberto; Riccardo Nincheri, Benedetto Lanza 2014. Catalogue of Arabian reptiles in the collections of the “La Specola” Museum, Florence. Scripta Herpetologica. Studies on Amphibians and Reptiles in honour of Benedetto Lanza: pp. 137-164 - get paper here
  • Šmíd, J., Göçmen, B., Crochet, P.-A., Trape, J.-F., Mazuch, T., Uvizl, M., & Nagy, Z. T. 2019. Ancient diversification, biogeography, and the role of climatic niche evolution in the Old World cat snakes (Colubridae, Telescopus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Venchi, Alberto and Roberto Sindaco 2006. Annotated checklist of the reptiles of the Mediterranean countries, with keys to species identification. Part 2 -Snakes (Reptilia, Serpentes). Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale "G. Doria", Genova, XCVIII: 259-364
  • 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.
  • Werner,Y.L. 1988. Herpetofaunal survey of Israel (1950-1985), with comments on Sinai and Jordan and on zoogeographical heterogeneity. in: Yom-Tov,Y. & Tchernov, E. (eds.) The zoogeography of Israel, Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht (Netherlands); ISBN 90-6193-650-0
  • Yıldız MZ. 2020. Herpetofauna of Kilis Province (Southeast Anatolia, Turkey). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 14(2) [General Section]: 145–156 (e242) - get paper here
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