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Urotheca myersi SAVAGE & LAHANAS, 1989

IUCN Red List - Urotheca myersi - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaColubridae (Dipsadinae), Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymUrotheca myersi SAVAGE & LAHANAS 1989
Urotheca myersi — SAVAGE 2002
Urotheca myersi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 784 
DistributionCosta Rica

Type locality: "the Cordillera de Talamanca, near Finca de Jardin (2255 m), approx. 9.6 km south by road of Villa  
TypesHolotype: LACM 137604, a 305 mm male (J. Hernandez Camacho, 11 June 1961). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of Urotheca with a uniform dorsal color, known only from the lower montane zone (Savage, 1975) distinguished from other forms placed in that genus primarily in the condition of the head cap (lighter than the body and extending 1-2 scales onto the neck), the lightly pigmented supralabials and the presence of a narrow black nuchal collar bordering the head cap coloration posteriorly. In addition, the venter in life was bright canary yellow in the single adult female. Representatives of Urotheca (U.decipiens,some U. fulviceps, U. guentheri, U. lateristriga, U. multilineata and U. pachyura) having a definite white stripe on the first scale row on each side of the body (some also have a pair of dorsal stripes as well) are unlikely to be confused with the new form which lacks stripes and the black-bordered ocelli or stripes on the neck and postocular region typical of several striped species. Some examples of the striped, lower Central American U. decipiens and U. pachyura somewhat resemble U. myersiin head markings but in the former there is usually a heavy, dark pigmentation along the upper and lower edges of the supralabials and in the latter there is no indication of a black nuchal collar. Urotheca fulviceps of Costa Rica to northwestern Ecuador is sometimes striped but usually has a uniform brown dorsum. It differs from the new species in having the light colored head cap extending 3-4 scales onto the neck and the supralabials intensely peppered or blotched with dark pigment. Urotheca lateristriga of Colombia and Ecuador usually has 2-4 longitudinal dorsal light stripes and black bordered ocelli or stripes on the head. In addition, the ventral counts (144-162) are much higher than in U. myersi (132-138). Urotheca dumerilii of Colombia has an essentially uniform brown dorsum except for short light lateral stripes on the neck, but differs from the new species in having the top of the head about the same color as the dorsum of the neck, a definite dark line along the upper margins of the supralabials and a pale spot or ocellus slightly behind the corner of the mouth and in lacking any indication of a black nuchal collar. The uniform dorsum of the new species will also separate it from the coral snake mimics, U. elapoides and U. euryzona, which have the body and tail marked with black bands or rings (in a few examples of the former the body and tail are uniform red with a single nuchal black band and a ventrally located black band across the anal shield). Available information suggests that hemipenial differences also distinguish U. myersi from most other members of the genus (Myers, 1974). The hemipenes of the new form closely resemble those of U. decipiens.The hemipenes of U. pachyura differ from those of U. decipiens and U. myersi (features for these two forms in parentheses) in having the sulcus dividing about halfway into the capitulum (near proximal margin) and the small nude area on the asulcate side of the distal portion of the organ not bordered by a basal spine (basal spine present). In U. fulviceps the sulcus spermaticus divides about a quarter of its length into the capitulum and there is a series of spines flanking the nude area (from Savage & Lahanas 1989). 
EtymologyNamed after Charles W. Myers for his contributions to Neotropical herpetology. 
  • Barrio-Amorós, Cesar L. 2020. Distribution of the Costa Rican Glasstail, Urotheca myersi Savage and Lahanas 1979. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (3): 428-429 - 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
  • Lips, Karen R. 1993. Urotheca myersi (NCN). Costa Rica: Puntarenas Province. Herpetological Review 24 (3): 111 - get paper here
  • Savage J M; Lahanas P N 1989. A new species of colubrid snake (genus Urotheca) from the Cordillera de Talamanca of Costa Rica. Copeia 1989 (4): 892-896 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • 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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