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Zamenis scalaris (SCHINZ, 1822)

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Higher TaxaColubridae, Colubrinae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ladder Snakes
G: Treppennatter
D: Trapslang 
SynonymColuber scalaris SCHINZ 1822: 123
Rhinechis agassizii
Xenodon Michahelles SCHLEGEL 1837: 92 (fide DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854)
Rhinechis scalaris — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 227
Coluber scalaris — BOULENGER 1894: 65
Coluber scalaris — BOULENGER 1913
Elaphe scalaris — KAHL et al. 1980: 227
Elaphe scalaris — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Elaphe scalaris — SCHULZ 1996: 229
Rhinechis scalaris — HELFENBERGER 2001
Rhinechis scalaris — UTIGER et al. 2002
Rhinechis scalaris — AGUILAR 2005
Rhinechis scalaris — VENCHI & SINDACO 2006
Rhinechis scalaris — GRUBER 2009
Rhinechis scalaris — PYRON et al. 2011
Zamenis scalaris — ZAHER et al. 2012
Rhinechis scalaris — SINDACO et al. 2013: 135
Rhinechis scalaris — KWET & TRAPP 2015
Zamenis scalaris — WALLACH et al. 2014: 809
Zamenis scalaris — FIGUEROA et al. 2016
Rhinechis scalaris — DIECKMANN 2018
Zamenis scalaris — SALVI et al. 2018
Zamenis scalaris — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020 
DistributionSpain (except for the North, introduced to Menorca, Ibiza), Portugal, Gibraltar, S France

Type locality: S France (Schinz, 1822)  
TypesType: nondesignated, location unknown (fide V. Wallach, pers. comm.) 
DiagnosisThe only external feature that differentiated the genera Rhinechis and Zamenis is the rostral shield (Boulenger, 1894; Venchi & Sindaco, 2006). In R. scalaris the rostral shield forms an acute angle posteriorly, clearly pointing behind and wedged between the internasal scales, which represents a unique trait in ratsnakes (Boulenger, 1894, Salvi et al. 2018). 
CommentDistribution: Might occur in Morocco (fide JOGER 1983). Listed as questionable for Italy by Geniez 2018 (only ONE specimen found in Liguria, possibly introduced from France? [E. RAZZETTI, pers. comm.]). For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Type species: Rhinechis agassizii (= Rhinechis scalaris) is the type species of the genus Rhinechis MICHAHELLES in WAGLER 1833.

Synonymy: Rhinechis is nested within Zamenis in several studies (reviewed by Salvi et al. 2018) including Zaher et al. 2012 (Appendix S1) who do not recommend any taxonomic changes. WALLACH et al. 2014: 809 synonymized Rhinechis with Zamenis. However, with an extended dataset Salvi et al. 2018 found Rhinechis and Zamenis to be monophyletic each. 
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