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Tropidodipsas fischeri (BOULENGER, 1894)

IUCN Red List - Tropidodipsas fischeri - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Fischer’s Snail-Eating Snake
S: Caracolera de Fischer 
SynonymVirginia fasciata FISCHER 1885: 95 (fide KOFRON 1985)
Tropidodipsas fischeri BOULENGER 1894 (nom. subst.)
Elapoides fasciatus
Geophis fasciata — GÜNTHER 1893 (fide VILLA et al. 1988)
Tropidoclonium annulatum BOCOURT 1892
Tropidodipsas annulata
Tropidodipsas kidderi STUART 1942
Tropidodipsas fischeri — SMITH & TAYLOR 1945
Tropidodipsas kidderi — STUART 1963
Tropidodipsas fischeri — STUART 1963
Tropidodipsas fischeri — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970
Sibon fischeri — WILSON & MEYER 1985: 91
Sibon fischeri — LINER 1994
Sibon fischeri — MARINEROS 2000: 114
Tropidodipsas fischeri — WILSON & MCCRANIE 2002
Tropidodipsas fischeri — HARVEY et al. 2008
Tropidodipsas fischeri — WALLACH et al. 2014: 746
Tropidodipsas fischeri — GRÜNWALD et al. 2021 
DistributionS Mexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca), SW Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras (elevation 1340-2150 m)

Type locality: Guatemala

kidderi: Guatemala; Type locality: Alta Verapaz, above Finca Samac, 6 km (air) W Cobán, ca. 1500 m elevation.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH, SMNS (Stuttgart Museum)
Holotype: UMMZ [kidderi] 
DiagnosisDescription. The following is based on three males (KU 194358-60). Tropidodipsas fischeri is a moderately small, banded snake (maximum recorded TOL 652 mm [Kofron, 1985a]; 568 mm TOL in largest Honduran specimen [KU 194359]) with a relatively short tail, head slightly distinct from neck; snout relatively short, broadly rounded in dorsal outline; rostral not extending posteriorly between internasals, its length from above about half that of median (but slightly sinistral relative to median prefrontal suture) internasal suture, internasals long, about one-half length of prefrontal suture; prefrontals well over twice as large as internasals in area, median prefrontal suture about three-quarters length of frontal; frontal slightly longer than wide, widest anteriorly, length about three-quarters that of parietals, in contact with prefrontals, supraoculars, and parietals; supraoculars longer than wide, much shorter than frontal; parietals long, wide, widest anteriorly, their median suture about same length as frontal; parietals in contact with frontal, supraoculars, upper postocular, anterior and upper secondary temporals, and about 5 nuchal scales; nasal divided, postnasal about same size as prenasal; postnasal in contact with first and second supralabials, loreal, prefrontal, and internasal; loreal single, elongate, bordering eye; preoculars absent; postoculars 2, lower smaller than upper; temporals 1+2, anterior one usually above fifth supralabial, lower secondafy one usually above sixth supralabial; no temporal bordering eye; supralabials 6-7 (usually 6), usually with third and fourth (occasionally fourth and fifth) bordering eye; pupil vertically elliptical; infralabials 6-7 (usually 7), first pair in con­ tact posterior to mental, first 3-4 in contact with anterior chinshields; anterior edge of first sublabial contacting posterior pair of chinshields; anterior chinshields paired, longer than wide, longer than posterior chinshields; posterior chinshields paired, short, about as wide as long; mental groove present; ventrals 182-184 (183.0+/-1.0) [167-194 both sexes combined range-wide]; cloacal scute entire; subcaudals 59-63 (60.7+/-2.1) [43-82 both sexes combined range-wide], divided; dorsal scales weakly keeled (at least posteriorly), in 17-17-17 rows on body, vertebral row not enlarged, without apical pits or supracloacal ridges; TOL 358-568 (466.0+/-105.1) mm; SVL 292-450 (374.0+/-79.2) mm; TAL/TOL 0.184-0.208. (Mccranie 2011)

Diagnosis/Similar Species. Tropidodipsas fischeri can be distinguished from most other Honduran snakes in having smooth to weakly keeled dorsal scales in 17 rows throughout the body and a dorsal pattern of dark crossbands the length of the body. Other Honduran snakes than can have those characteristics differ in the following ways. Stenorrhina degenhardtii has the internasal fused to the anterior section of the nasal and a divided cloacal scute (versus internasal not fused to nasal and cloacal scute entire in T. fischeri). Geophis fulvoguttatus has fewer than 160 ventral scales (versus more than 165 ventrals in T. fischeri). Imantodes cenchoa and I. gemmistratus have a short, blunt head that is very distinct from the thin neck and more than 100 subcaudals (versus rounded head that is only slightly distinct from neck and fewer than 85 subcaudals in T. fischeri). Tropidodipsas sartorii has a ringed body pattern (versus banded dorsal pattern in T.fischeri). (Mccranie 2011) 
CommentSynonymy partly after KOFRON 1985 who also suggested to treat T. kidderi as subspecies of S. fischeri, S. fischeri kidderi (STUART 1942). KLUE 1984 listed Tropidodipsas kidderi as a synonym of Tropidodipsas fasciata subannulata.

Nomenclature: Virginia fasciata FISCHER 1885 is a homonym of Tropidodipsas fasciata GÜNTHER 1858. 
EtymologyNamed after Johann Gustav Fischer (1819-1889), German herpetologist working in Hamburg. 
  • 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
  • Bocourt, M. F. 1892. Note sur un petit ophidien. Le Naturaliste (Paris) (2nd Ser.) 6: 132 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1894. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. British Mus. (Nat. Hist.), London, xi, 382 pp. - get paper here
  • Casas-Andreu, G., F.R. Méndez-De la Cruz and X. Aguilar-Miguel. 2004. Anfibios y Reptiles; pp. 375–390, in A.J.M. García-Mendoza, J. Ordoñez and M. Briones-Salas (ed.). Biodiversidad de Oaxaca. Instituto de Biología, UNAM-Fondo Oaxaqueño para la Conservación de la Naturaleza-World Wildlife Fund, México, D. F.
  • Clause, Adam G.; Israel Solano-Zavaleta, and Walter Schmidt-Ballardo 2014. Tropidodipsas fischeri. Reproductive Behavior. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 290 - get paper here
  • Fischer, J. G. 1885. Ichthyologische und herpetologische Bemerkungen. V. Herpetologische Bemerkungen. Jahrb. Hamburg. Wiss. Anst. 2: 82-121 - get paper here
  • Guerra Centeno, Dennis; Héctor Fuentes Rousselin & David Morán Villatoro 2012. Serpientes de Guatemala: Guía para didentificación de especies. Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, 186 pp.
  • Heimes, P. 2016. Snakes of Mexico. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 572 pp
  • Johnson, Jerry D.; Vicente Mata-Silva, Elí García Padilla, and Larry David Wilson 2015. The Herpetofauna of Chiapas, Mexico: composition, distribution, and conservation. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (3): 272–329. - get paper here
  • Kluge, Arnold G. 1984. Type-specimens of reptiles in the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. [type catalogue] Miscellaneous publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (167): 1-85 - get paper here
  • Kofron, C.P. 1985. Review of the central American colubrid snakes, Sibon fischeri and S. carri. Copeia 1985 (1): 164-174 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Marineros, Leonel 2000. Guia de las Serpientes de Honduras. Tegucigalpa, M.D.C., 252 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
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • Schlüter, A. & Hallermann, J. 1997. The Type Specimens in the Herpetological Collection of the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart. Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk. Ser. A (553): 1-15 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. & Taylor, Edward H. 1945. An annotated checklist and key to the snakes of Mexico. Bull. US Natl. Mus. (187): iv + 1-239 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Stuart, L. C. 1942. A new Tropidodipsas (Ophidia) from Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 55: 177-180 - get paper here
  • Stuart, L.C. 1963. A checklist of the herpetofauna of Guatemala. Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan (No. 122): 1-150 - 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., & MEYER, J. R. 1985. The Snakes of Honduras. 2d ed. Milwaukee Publ. Mus. Publ., Biol. & Geol. No. 6, 150 pp.
  • Wilson, L.D. & McCranie, J.R. 2003. The conservation status of the herpetofauna of Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 3 (1): 6-33 - get paper here
  • Wilson, L.D. & McCranie, J.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the cloud forests of Honduras. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 3 (1): 34-48 - get paper here
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