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Tropidophis taczanowskyi (STEINDACHNER, 1880)

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Higher TaxaTropidophiidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Taczanowsky's Dwarf Boa. 
SynonymUngalia Taczanowskyi STEINDACHNER 1880
Ungalia taczanowskyi — BOULENGER 1893: 111
Tropidophis taczanowskyi — STULL 1928: 21
Tropidophis taczanowskyi — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 222
Tropidophis taczanowskyi — CURCIO et al. 2012
Tropidophis taczanowskyi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 756 
DistributionPeru, Ecuador (east of the Andes)

Type locality: Tambillo, Peru.  
TypesLectotype: NMW 14858, adult female (designated by Curcio et al. 2012). Paralectotype. A second specimen, previously considered a syntype, presumably exists but was unlocated (sensu McDiarmid et al., 1999) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Distinguishable from other mainland congeners by the following combi- nation of characters: (1) 146–160 ventrals (vs. 164–183 in T. paucisquamis; 200 in T. battersbyi, and 196–203 in T. preciosus); (2) 23 dorsal scales at midbody (vs. dorsals at midbody usually 21 or 23, rarely 25 in T. paucisquamis); (3) vertebral scale row not distinctly enlarged in size relative to remain- ing dorsals (vs. vertebral row of dorsals usually enlarged, wider than long, at least on part of the trunk in T. paucisquamis and T. preciosus); (4) dorsals distinctively keeled except for the first five rows on anterior two-thirds of trunk and the first three rows on the posterior one-third of trunk (vs. dorsals smooth or feebly keeled in T. paucisquamis and smooth in T. battersbyi and T. preciosus); (5) inter- parietals usually present, well developed (vs. interparietals usually absent in T. paucisqua- mis; absent in T. preciosus); (6) parietals usually in slight contact or fully separated by interparietals (vs. parietals in full contact along the middorsal line of head in T. paucisquamis and T. preciosus); (7) up to 20 maxillary teeth (vs. 12 in T. battersbyi); (8) eight spot rows around body, six on dorsum and two on venter (vs. six spot rows around the body, four on dorsum and two on venter in T. battersbyi); and (9) body spotted, dorsal spots usually no larger than one or two dorsals in diameter on paravertebral rows, sometimes becoming longer on flanks resulting in interrupted lateral stripes (vs. body spotted without any tendency to form stripes in all other mainland species) [CURCIO et al. 2012].

Comparisons with other mainland Tropidophis.—Segmental counts and head scaling of T. taczanowskyi are rather similar to those of T. grapiuna. In addition, both have distinctively keeled dorsals, although the keels of T. taczanowskyi are stronger. However, besides the difference in general dorsal pattern (see character 7), the conspicuous light occipital spots of T. grapiuna allow its immediate distinction from T. taczanowskyi that has occipital spots being small and irregular in shape (Fig. 24A, C, D in CURCIO et al. 2012) 
CommentIllustration: Steindachner’s figure is shown in CURCIO et al. 2012.

Dates: the year of original description is given as “1870” by CURCIO et al. 2012.

Distribution: In spite of Peters’ (1960) suggestion that the species could also occur in Brazil, no records are known from this country (McDiarmid et al., 1999, Curcio et al. 2012).

Habitat: partly arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Curcio, Felipe Franco; Pedro M. Sales Nunes, Antônio Jorge Suzart Argolo, Gabriel Skuk, and Miguel Trefaut Rodrigues 2012. Taxonomy of the South American Dwarf Boas of the Genus Tropidophis Bibron, 1840, With the Description of Two New Species from the Atlantic Forest (Serpentes: Tropidophiidae). Herpetological Monographs 26 (1): 80-121. - get paper here
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Harrington, Sean M; Jordyn M de Haan, Lindsey Shapiro, Sara Ruane 2018. Habits and characteristics of arboreal snakes worldwide: arboreality constrains body size but does not affect lineage diversification. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125 (1): 61–71 - get paper here
  • Hedges, S. B. and O. H. Garrido. 1992. A new species of Tropidophis from Cuba (Serpentes: Tropidophiidae). Copeia 1992 (4): 820-825 - get paper here
  • Hedges, S.B. 2002. Morphological variation and the definition of species in the snake genus Tropidophis (Serpentes, Tropidophiidae). Bull. nat. Hist. Mus. London (Zool.) 68 (2): 83-90 - get paper here
  • Lehr, E. 2002. Amphibien und Reptilien in Peru. Natur und Tier-Verlag (Münster), 208 pp. - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Steindachner, F. 1880. Uber eine neue peruanische Ungalia-Art, Ungalia taczanowskyi. Sitzungsb. Akad. Wiss. Wien, math.-natur-wiss. Kl., 80 1: 522-525 - get paper here
  • Stull, O.G. 1928. A revision of the genus Tropidophis. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Zoology University of Michigan 195: 1-49. - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - 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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