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Systematic Status of the Colubrid Snake, Leptodeira discolor Gunther   By: (1930-)

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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS PUBLICATIONS MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Volume 11, No. 1, pp. 1 9, 4 figs. July 14, 1958

Systematic Status of the Colubrid Snake, Leptodeira discolor Günther

BY

WILLIAM E. DUELLMAN

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS LAWRENCE 1958

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS PUBLICATIONS, MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, Henry S. Fitch, Robert W. Wilson

Volume 11, No. 1, pp 1 9, 4 figs. Published July 14, 1958

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Lawrence, Kansas

PRINTED IN THE STATE PRINTING PLANT TOPEKA, KANSAS 1958

27 6708

Systematic Status of the Colubrid Snake, Leptodeira discolor Günther

BY

WILLIAM E. DUELLMAN

At the time of completing my study of the genus Leptodeira (1958) I had seen no specimens of Leptodeira discolor , a species described by Günther in 1860 and subsequently referred to the genus Hypsiglena by Cope (1887), Boulenger (1894), and Mocquard (1908), and to the genus Pseudoleptodeira by Taylor (1938). Günther's description was based on two syntypes (British Museum of Natural History numbers 1946.1.23.67 and 68) collected in Oaxaca, México, by Auguste Sallé. Information concerning the scutellation and coloration of the syntypes was provided by J. C. Battersby; in my revisionary study ( op. cit. ) this information was included in a short discussion of the species, which was referred to incerta sedis until specimens could be examined and the relationships of the species determined.

Through the courtesy of John M. Legler of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, I have been able to study a specimen of Leptodeira discolor obtained six miles southeast of Tamazulápam, Oaxaca, México, by J. R. Alcorn on June 22, 1955. Superficial examination of the external characters of this snake shows a striking resemblance to Leptodeira . The specimen has a vertical pupil, divided anal, 21 scale rows, and two apical pits. The enlarged posterior maxillary teeth are without a trace of a groove. Examination of the hemipenis revealed that the organ was bifurcate and had a forked sulcus; these penial characteristics are diagnostic of the subfamily Xenodontinae and not the subfamily Colubrinae that includes the genera Hypsiglena and Leptodeira .

Examination of all available xenodontine genera indicates that this snake belongs to a heretofore unnamed genus. In recognition of the mental torment customarily suffered by workers attempting to ascertain the relationships of the many genera of colubrid snakes, I propose the generic name

Tantalophis , new genus

Leptodeira (in part), Günther, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, pp. 317 318, 1860; Garman, Bull. Essex Inst., vol. 16, p. 23, January 9, 1884; Dunn, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., vol. 22, pp. 697 698, December, 1936; Duellman, Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 114 (1), pp. 95 96, February 24, 1958.

Hypsiglena (in part), Cope, Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus., no. 32, p. 78, 1887; Günther, Biologia Centrali Americana, Reptilia, pp. 137 138, pl. 49, fig. A, October, 1894; Boulenger, Catalogue Snakes British Museum, vol. 2, p. 211, September 23, 1894; Mocquard, in Duméril and Bocourt, Mission Scientifique Mexique l'Amerique Centrale, vol. 3, p. 871, 1908; Amaral, Mem. Inst. Butantan, vol. 4, p. 183, May, 1930.

Pseudoleptodeira (in part) Taylor, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., vol. 25, no. 15, p. 343, June 1, 1938.

Type Species. Leptodeira discolor Günther, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, pp. 317 318, 1860.

Diagnosis. A xenodontine colubrid snake having a bifurcate hemipenis with a forked sulcus spermaticus, many longitudinal folds on basal portion, and small spines and calyces on distal part; 12 or 13 maxillary teeth followed by short diastema and two somewhat enlarged maxillary teeth lacking grooves; small parotid gland; normal colubrid skull; no hypapophyses on posterior vertebrae; elliptical pupils; two apical pits; smooth scales; normal colubrid head shields; divided anal; paired caudals... Continue reading book >>




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