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Xyelodontophis uluguruensis BROADLEY & WALLACH, 2002

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Dagger-tooth Vine Snake 
SynonymXyelodontophis uluguruensis BROADLEY & WALLACH 2002
Xyelodontophis uluguruensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 804
Thelotornis uluguruensis — EIMERMACHER 2012
Xyelodontophis uluguruensis — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 509 

Type locality: Lupanga Peak, Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania (06° 52’ S, 37° 43’ E).  
TypesHolotype: NMZB 7443 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: A member of the tribe Dispholidini, differing from the other genera in the development of strongly curved rear maxillary teeth, which have sharp flanges anteriorly and posteriorly and narrow at the base, hence the name Xyelodontophis = Dagger-tooth Snake. Both species of Rhamnophis also have dagger-shaped rear maxillary teeth, but they are less well developed and the teeth taper from base to tip, while Thelotornis and Dispholidus have large deeply grooved rear fangs. The new genus agrees with Thrasops and Thelotornis in having a shalowly forked ectopterygoid bone, whereas Rhamnophis and Dispholidus have a deeply forked ectopterygoid. In general form and scalation the new snake agrees with Thelotornis, but it lacks the distinctive horizontal pupil of that genus.
CommentSynonymy: Eimermacher 2012 found that Xyelodontophis nests within Thelotornis in his unpublished thesis and thus suggested to synonymize the two.

Type species: Xyelodontophis uluguruensis BROADLEY & WALLACH 2002 is the type species of the genus Xyelodontophis BROADLEY & WALLACH 2002.

Habitat: fully arboreal (Harrington et al. 2018). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • BROADLEY, D. G. & V. WALLACH 2002. Review of the Dispholidini, with the description of a new genus and species from Tanzania (Serpentes, Colubridae). Bull. nat.Hist. Mus. Lond (Zool.), 68(2): 57-74. - get paper here
  • BROADLEY, D.G. & BERADUCCI, J. 2009. Xyelodontophis uluguruensis (Broadley & Wallach, 2002). African Herp News (50): 41-42 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Lyakurwa, J.V., Howell, K.M., Munishi, L.K., Treydte, A.C. 2019. Uzungwa Scarp Nature Forest Reserve; a unique hotspot for reptiles in Tanzania. Acta Herpetologica 14 (1): 3-14 - get paper here
  • Lyakurwa, John Valentine 2017. The Reptiles of the Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve (USFR): An Updated Checklist with Notes on Dagger-Tooth Vine Snake Xyelodontophis uluguruensis. Journal of East African Natural History 106(2):57-65. - get paper here
  • Menegon, Michele; Nike Doggart, Nisha Owen 2008. The Nguru mountains of Tanzania, an outstanding hotspot of herpetofaunal diversity. Acta Herpetologica 3 (2): 107-127
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - 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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